Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Improving Rice Production For The Future!

Rice is eaten by billions of people. It is a major source of calories for half of the world's populations. Rice cultivation also provides employment and income for hundreds of thousands of people all around the world.

This tiny grain provides enormous benefits for many societies, however all is not well in the world of rice.

Rice requires a great deal of fresh water and fossil fuels. In fact, about one-quarter to one-third of the world's annual supply of water goes to rice production. With the demand for water continuously rising (by 30% by 2030) this poses a major issue. Already nearly 3 billion people live in areas where the supply of water is much lower than the actual demand.

So, although many thousands of people rely on rice as their daily food or income, rice farming uses up large amount of precious recourses and emits greenhouse gases.

Thankfully, there are solutions, Sustainable Rice Intensification is one.

SRI is a set of alternative management practices that were developed in Madagascar. It increases the value of resources used to grow rice. Essentially, less resources are needed to produce rice and at the same time increases yields. Its pretty amazing!

SRI has been proven to be successful in over 40 countries globally and local governments are even beginning to support the method. Oxfam is working with communities in East and South Asia as the World Bank is assisting farmers in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

-Gabrielle Gurian