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Title: Breadbasket  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Basket (disambiguation), Forte Sangallo, Salad Bowl, Barbados–Guyana relations, Điện Biên Phủ
Collection: Agricultural Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Grain storage silos in Queensland, Australia

The breadbasket or the granary of a country is a region which, because of richness of soil and/or advantageous climate, produces an agricultural surplus which is often considered vital for the country as a whole. Rice bowl[1] is a similar term used to refer to Southeast Asia, and California's Salinas Valley is often referred to as the world's salad bowl.[2][3] Such regions may be the subject of fierce political disputes which may even escalate into full military conflicts.


  • Classical antiquity 1
  • Africa 2
    • Morocco 2.1
    • South Africa 2.2
    • Zimbabwe 2.3
  • Asia 3
    • India 3.1
    • Pakistan 3.2
    • China 3.3
    • Syria 3.4
    • Rice Bowl in Southeast Asia 3.5
      • Indonesia 3.5.1
      • Malaysia 3.5.2
      • Philippines 3.5.3
      • Myanmar/Burma 3.5.4
      • Thailand 3.5.5
      • Vietnam 3.5.6
  • Europe 4
    • Bulgaria 4.1
    • Cyprus 4.2
    • France 4.3
    • Hungary 4.4
    • Portugal 4.5
    • Romania 4.6
    • Ukraine 4.7
    • Serbia 4.8
    • Spain 4.9
    • Slovenia 4.10
    • United Kingdom 4.11
  • North America 5
  • Oceania 6
    • Australia 6.1
    • New Zealand 6.2
  • South America 7
    • Argentina 7.1
    • Chile 7.2
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9

Classical antiquity

Sicily and Africa were considered the breadbaskets of the Roman Republic. Later on, Egypt was considered the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. Crimea was the source of a huge quantity of grain supplied to Greek city-states, especially Athens.



The Chaouia plain south of Casablanca has historically been the breadbasket of Morocco thanks to its fertile soil called Tirs and relatively abundant rainfall (avg. 400 mm/year).

South Africa

The Free State province is often considered the breadbasket of South Africa due to its wheat, sunflower and maize fields.[4]

The Overberg region in the Western Cape is also known as the breadbasket of South Africa[5] due to its large wheat fields, as well as fruit growing.


As Rhodesia, Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa, exporting wheat, tobacco, and corn to the rest of the continent and beyond. Zimbabwe contains the most fertile farmland on the continent.[6]



The Punjab and Haryana regions are considered the breadbaskets of India. West Bengal is said to be the "rice bowl" of India. Even though its rice production is just enough to be self-sufficient for the province's large population, it is the largest producer of rice in India.


The Punjab province is considered the breadbasket of Pakistan.[7]


Sichuan has historically been known as the "province of abundance" due to its agricultural prowess. The regions on the banks of the Yellow River and Yangtze River have also been known for their rich fertility.


The Al-Jazira area in northwestern Syria, and its Euphrates basin is considered the country's breadbasket due to its abundance of wheat.

Rice Bowl in Southeast Asia


The plains of Java are considered the rice bowls of Indonesia.


Kedah is considered the rice bowl of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia's total production of rice. In 2008, the government of Kedah banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry.


The province of Nueva Ecija found on Luzon island is considered the rice granary of the Philippines because of the vast tracts of land used for rice production.


The Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar used to be one of the most important sources of rice in the region until its production declined due to various reasons, including the country's unstable political situation.


The Chao Phraya delta is considered the rice bowl of Thailand.


The Mekong delta in Vietnam is considered the country's rice bowl.



Southern Dobruja, a fertile plain region in Bulgaria's northeast between the Danube and the Black Sea, is commonly considered the country's breadbasket.[8][9]


The central plain called Mesaoria surrounding the capital Nicosia has long served as the island's granary.


The Beauce plains are considered the breadbasket of France.


The Hungarian Plain has produced significant amounts of corn and grain. In the early 20th century, 34% of Europe's total corn production and 11% of the European flour production was grown in Hungary.


Alentejo is considered the breadbasket of Portugal.


In the 19th century, Romania was considered part of Europe's breadbasket.[10]


During Tsarist times, the Ukrainian provinces of the Russian Empire were referred to as the Empire's breadbasket.[11] During the Soviet era, the mantle passed to the Ukrainian SSR.

There is also the Central Black Earth Region within Russia proper.


Vojvodina was considered the breadbasket of Serbia. About 70% of its agricultural products are corn, 20% industrial herbs, and 10% other agricultural cultures.


Andalusia is considered the breadbasket of Spain. The primary cultivation is dryland farming of cereals, olive trees, vineyards and sunflowers. Using irrigation, a large amount of maize, strawberries, citrus and rice are also grown on the banks of the Guadalquivir river.


In the 18th century, there were plans to drain the Ljubljana Marsh and transform it into the breadbasket of Carniola.[12][13]

United Kingdom

Eastern England, particularly East Anglia, the Vale of York and south-east England are considered the main crop-producing areas of the UK.

North America

The United States Corn Belt

North America's Great Plains are a common breadbasket shared between Canada and the United States. In Canada, the grain-growing areas are also called the Canadian prairies. Sometimes the province of Saskatchewan, also known for producing a huge supplement of potash, is further singled out from within this region as the main breadbasket of Canada. In the United States, this region is called the Corn Belt, or (occasionally) the "Grain Belt", and it generally extends from the Canadian border between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes down through the Texas Panhandle.

Additionally, the San Joaquin Valley in California has also been called the "food basket of the world." The San Joaquin Valley produces the majority of the 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) that comes from California.[14] Grapes - table, raisin, and to a lesser extent, wine - are perhaps the valley's highest-profile product, but equally (if not more) important are cotton, nuts (especially almonds and pistachios), citrus, and vegetables. 70% of the world's and 100% of the U.S. supply of almonds comes from the valley. Oranges, peaches, garlic, tangerines, tomatoes, kiwis, hay, alfalfa and numerous other crops have been harvested with great success. According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture’s ranking of market value of agricultural products sold, nine of the nation’s top 10, and 12 of the top 20, producing counties are in California. [15]



The Murray-Darling Basin is seen as Australia's breadbasket, being the source of 40% of the nation's agricultural income, a third of the wheat harvest, 95% of the rice crop and other products such as fruit, wine and cotton.[16]

New Zealand

When New Zealand became a British colony, the fertile lands produced food that would be shipped back to England, causing New Zealand to become colloquially known (occasionally along with Australia) as Britain's breadbasket, subsequently leading to the Dunedin being the first ship to complete a truly successful transport of refrigerated meat. She was refitted with a refrigeration machine with which she took the first load of frozen meat from New Zealand to the United Kingdom.

South America



In the 19th century, access to the Californian and Australian markets made wheat export a very lucrative activity.[17] In the mid-19th century, those countries experienced large gold rushes, which created a large demand for wheat. Chile was at the time the "only wheat producer of some importance in the Pacific".[18]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bryce, Emma (2013-05-08). "Wildlife forced out of California 'salad bowl' by food safety regulations". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  3. ^ Kaplan, Sheila. "Salinas, California: The Salad Bowl of Pesticides". Politics Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "Pakistan flood: Sindh braces as water envelops southern Punjab". Guardian. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Vatahov, Ivan (2001-08-23). "Drought leads to low yields in Dobrudja". The Sofia Echo (Sofia Echo Media Ltd.). Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Duijzings, Ger (2014). Global Villages: Rural and Urban Transformations in Contemporary Bulgaria. Anthem Press. p. 110.  
  10. ^ Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe, Dracula Is Dead (2009) p 104
  11. ^ Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history. The Week. March 8, 2014
  12. ^ Melik, Anton. 1959. Slovenija: Geografski Opis, vol. 2, part 3. Ljubljana: Slovenska Matica, p. 187.
  13. ^ Vidic, Marko. 1987. "Agrarna revolucija." Enciklopedija Slovenije, vol. 1, pp. 20–21. Ljubljana: Mladinska knjiga.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "The Murray-Darling Basin: A catchment in crisis".  
  17. ^ (Spanish) La Hacienda (1830-1930). Memoria Chilena.
  18. ^ (Spanish) Villalobos, Sergio; Silva, Osvaldo; Silva, Fernando and Estelle, Patricio. 1974. Historia De Chile. Editorial Universitaria, Chile. p 481-485.

Further reading

  • Myanmar Business Today; Print Edition, 27 February, 2014. A Roadmap to Building Myanmar into the Food Basket of Asia, by David DuByne & Hishamuddin Koh

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