Washington, Dec 4 (ANI): A new food security report for Asia has been launched in Mumbai by The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Asia Society, calling for increased investment in rice research.
The report, Never an empty bowl: sustaining food security in Asia, emphasizes the importance of rice as the primary staple food in Asia and a major source of income for Asian farmers.
It also recommends more research on: climate change mitigation for farming, farming infrastructure, and market price stability.
"India, which is the second biggest producer of rice and where rice is a staple for more than 65percent of the population, is an indispensable partner in spearheading rice research," said IRRI Deputy Director General for Research, Dr. Achim Dobermann, who helped launched the report.
Poverty remains the single biggest factor contributing to food insecurity in Asia," said Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, who co-chaired the international task force of prominent global thinkers, including the founder and board chair of the IT company Infosys Mr. Narayana Murthy, that prepared the report.
"Two-thirds of the world's 1.4 billion poor people surviving on less than 1.25 dollars per day live in Asia. They spend half of their income on purchasing food, mainly rice. For the extreme poor, having access to adequate food is often too costly," he added.
The report coincides with IRRI's 50th anniversary fundraising campaign, which seeks to raise support for rice research through philanthropy and the private sector in Asia. Funds raised by this campaign will go toward the IRRI-led Global Rice Science Partnership, which will be carried out with hundreds of research and development partners around the world, including India.
Since the 1960s, India's rice production has improved with the use of better rice varieties, more precise nutrient management practices, and improved irrigation infrastructure, among other factors.
However, erratic monsoons and extremes in weather patterns are proving increasingly challenging to the hundreds of millions of farmers in India.
Investment in rice research will help to develop better methods of adaptation to floods, droughts, and high-salinity conditions, all of which will increasingly hinder rice production as climate change progresses.
The report suggests that through greater investment and by growing more and healthier rice in an environmentally sustainable way rice prices will be stabilized and poverty in Asia can be reduced by approximately 15 percent by 2030. (ANI)