More public-private collaboration sought in rice value chain
Against the backdrop of a growing world population, public and private institutions are requested to find innovative ways of sustainably increasing rice production in order to feed more people and keep rice affordable. How this can be approached is the main topic of an international conference in New Delhi, India, attended by more than 200 key stakeholders from rice producing countries across Asia Pacific.
The two-day ‘Rice Future Forum’ organized by Bayer CropScience aims at stimulating fresh perspectives on topics ranging from the importance of government policies in supporting the rice farming community, research and innovations, to promoting collaboration and sustainability across the rice value chain.
Harnessing innovation to address challenges in rice production in Asia
Rice is a key crop in Asia and a staple food for more than half of the world’s population, especially in Asia and Africa. With an expanding world population and a corresponding increase in food consumption, production needs to be raised. However, demand has grown faster than productivity increases in recent years. In addition, farmers today face numerous challenges, from the impact of weather fluctuations, labor shortage, to limited resources including arable land and water.
"Rice is life, literally, in Asia and through working very closely with the rice farmers, we have a deep understanding of their challenges and needs," said Tobias Marchand, Head Region Asia Pacific, Bayer CropScience. "The backbone of rice farming in Asia is smallholder farmers. If we want to improve their livelihood and the economic situation at large, we need to focus on rice. In this context, we believe that helping farmers to sustainably increase their yield is of utmost importance."
At the Rice Future Forum, Bayer CropScience presents its innovative and integrated portfolio of solutions based on advanced technologies. One of these examples is the ‘Much More Rice’ initiative - an integrated rice production program based on hybrid seeds, crop protection products, as well as consultancy and advisory services. Working closely with farmers to better understand their needs, the ‘Much More Rice’ solution is designed to improve rice yields and quality, while at the same time promoting sustainable agriculture. Originating in Vietnam, the ‘Much More Rice’ solution has seen resounding success and has spread to other countries in Asia, including China, Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. Results from more than a thousand trials proved an average increase in yield of about 20 percent, leading to a corresponding increase in farmer income.