Rice is the staple food for two-thirds of the world’s population

Rice is the staple food for two-thirds of the world’s population

Rice is the staple food for two-thirds of the world’s population. This simple grain has been a popular life-sustaining food for thousands of years because it is nutritious, versatile, economical, easy to prepare and tastes good. Rice is cultivated in more than 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. World rice trade represents only about 5 percent of world consumption. However, this relatively small amount traded (worth roughly $5 billion annually) has a major impact on world economic and political policies.

It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%. Rice is life for thousands of millions of people. It is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of their societies. In Asia alone, more than 2,000 million people obtain 60 to 70 percent of their calories from rice and its products. It is the most rapidly growing source of food in Africa, and is of significant importance to food security in an increasing number of low-income food-deficit countries.

Rice-based production systems and their associated post-harvest operations employ nearly 1,000 million people in rural areas of developing countries. About 80% of the world’s rice is grown by small-scale farmers in low-income and developing countries.

KEY FACTS ON AGRICULTURE:

• The planet will have to feed an additional 1.5 billion people in 2030, 90 percent of whom will be living in developing countries.


• The world will need to raise its food production by 60-70 percent to feed more than nine billion people by 2050;


• Every day, agriculture produces an average of 23.7 million tons of food.


• Agriculture provides livelihoods for 2.5 billion people.

Rice is the staple food for two-thirds of the world’s population. This simple grain has been a popular life-sustaining food for thousands of years because it is nutritious, versatile, economical, easy to prepare and tastes good. Rice is cultivated in more than 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. World rice trade represents only about 5 percent of world consumption. However, this relatively small amount traded (worth roughly $5 billion annually) has a major impact on world economic and political policies.

It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%. Rice is life for thousands of millions of people. It is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of their societies. In Asia alone, more than 2,000 million people obtain 60 to 70 percent of their calories from rice and its products. It is the most rapidly growing source of food in Africa, and is of significant importance to food security in an increasing number of low-income food-deficit countries.

Rice-based production systems and their associated post-harvest operations employ nearly 1,000 million people in rural areas of developing countries. About 80% of the world’s rice is grown by small-scale farmers in low-income and developing countries.

KEY FACTS ON AGRICULTURE:

• The planet will have to feed an additional 1.5 billion people in 2030, 90 percent of whom will be living in developing countries.


• The world will need to raise its food production by 60-70 percent to feed more than nine billion people by 2050;


• Every day, agriculture produces an average of 23.7 million tons of food.


• Agriculture provides livelihoods for 2.5 billion people.

It follows that efficient and productive rice-based production systems are essential for economic development and for improved quality of life of much of the world’s population. Improving the productivity of rice systems would contribute to hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, national food security and economic development. According to FAO estimates, there are about 840 million undernourished people, including more than 200 million children, in developing countries. Undernourishment greatly limits development.

However, rice production is facing serious constraints including a declining rate of growth in yields, depletion of natural resources, labour shortages, gender-based conflicts, institutional limitations and environmental pollution. Overcoming hunger, poverty and malnutrition – while protecting the environment – requires collective action by all stakeholders. The diversity of the regions, peoples, and resources connected within the world’s rice-based systems, requires a diverse approach for global rice-based development that includes participation from the local to the international level.

It follows that efficient and productive rice-based production systems are essential for economic development and for improved quality of life of much of the world’s population. Improving the productivity of rice systems would contribute to hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, national food security and economic development. According to FAO estimates, there are about 840 million undernourished people, including more than 200 million children, in developing countries. Undernourishment greatly limits development.

However, rice production is facing serious constraints including a declining rate of growth in yields, depletion of natural resources, labour shortages, gender-based conflicts, institutional limitations and environmental pollution. Overcoming hunger, poverty and malnutrition – while protecting the environment – requires collective action by all stakeholders. The diversity of the regions, peoples, and resources connected within the world’s rice-based systems, requires a diverse approach for global rice-based development that includes participation from the local to the international level.