Along with maize and rice, wheat is one of the most important food crops. Wheat is a cereal grain, originating from the Levant region of the Near East and Ethiopian Highlands, but the crop is now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 MT, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize (784 MT) and rice (651 MT). In 2009, world production of wheat was 682 MT, making it the second most-produced cereal after maize (817 MT), and with rice as close third (679 MT). It is grown on about 220 million hectares worldwide, covering more land area than any other crop. Major wheat producing countries include China, India, USA, Russia and France.