Agriculture, Food & Nutrition, People, Prosperity, Planet, Asia Pacific

Five ways to help promote sustainable rice production

Responsible Business | Feb 07, 2019


Since it has been such an important grain worldwide, the domestication and cultivation of rice is one of the most important events in history that has had the greatest impact on the most people. It is the world’s second most important cereal crop following only corn. The vast majority of climate change impacts and the overall impact of climate change on rice production are likely to be negative. While there is still ongoing scientific exploration, forecasts suggest that by 2050 rice prices will increase between 32 and 37% as a result of climate change.

A few interesting facts about Rice:

  • Rice is cultivated in over 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica
  • Rice has been feeding us for 5,000 years. The first known account was in China about 2,800 BC
  • Asia alone produces and consumes 90% of the world’s rice
  • Rice is the main food for half the people in the world

Below you will find 5 ways that help increase sustainable rice production:

1. Enhancing global health with nutritionally enhanced rice

Photo credit: Unsplash

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 30% of the world’s population are anemic, many due to iron deficiency.

Larger amounts of iron-rich rice, especially in developing countries, could help reduce that number significantly, bettering not just the health of the individual, but also determining the overall productivity of the population. The development of Golden Rice, a new type of rice which the human body modifies to vitamin A as needed, was a major recent discovery in bio fortification.

2. Furthering rice research through innovative technologies

Photo credit: Unsplash

It is essential to the future of food security that we implement new technologies to ensure sustainable rice production, food safety, and build new value for consumers.

The recent emergence of genome editing technologies have superseded the limitations of traditional breeding methods starting a new era of crop improvement. An example of this would be Crispr, a gene-editing technique that’s applied to selective breeding, which allows scientists to “edit” a plant’s genome to get desired traits.

3. Forming responsible rice value chains and policies

Photo credit: Pixabay

In many countries today, local rice value chains are characterized by unequal access to resources and imbalance of power, which creates inequalities within groups. With improved decision-making, prioritization and focusing on technologies, innovations and policies, future rice value chains will become more sustainable from an economic, social and environmental point of view.

4. Data driven support for food systems

Photo credit: Pixabay

To develop and maintain sustainable rice production, the world’s rice sector must have access to real-time and accurate information to make better decisions. Financially sustainable (free) information services for rice crop management with scaling potential to other regions and crops will help leverage new technologies to develop solutions through data to meet SDGs. Sat4Rice aims to improve rice production in the whole Mekong Delta, by providing satellite data driven information services that are integrated in a platform, that is accessible through a browser-based smartphone app.

5. Ensuring strength of rice-based systems in marginal environments

Photo credit: Pexels

Expanding rice varieties that can withstand extreme weather conditions that are forecast to become more frequent and intense due to global warming. This includes drought, flood, heat, cold, and soil problems like high salt and iron toxicity. Along with improved crop management and the proper use of technology, “climate change-ready rice” is showing substantial, positive impacts in the lives of the most vulnerable people around the world.

The 6th Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture will convene on 26 – 27 March 2019 featuring over 400 food, agriculture and nutrition decision makers from companies, governments, investors, NGOs and farmers, to discuss innovation in value chains for food and nutrition security.


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