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The Relevance of Rice

Zeigler, Robert S., Barclay, Adam
Rice 2008 v.1 no.1 pp. 3-10
developing countries, farmers, income, irrigation, livelihood, poverty, prices, rice, Africa, Asia, Latin America
Research into rice—the world’s most important food crop—is crucial for the development of technologies that will increase productivity for farmers who rely on rice for their livelihood. This is particularly the case throughout the developing countries of Asia and is also true for much of Latin America and, increasingly, Africa. The benefits of such increased productivity will flow through to rice-growing countries’ landless rural and urban poor, all of whom (1) are net consumers of rice and (2) spend a large proportion of their income on rice. Recent steep rises in the price of rice have amplified the need for investment in high-quality research targeted toward both the intensive irrigated rice-based systems (in which 75% of the world’s rice is grown and that must provide the rice for rapidly increasing urban populations) and the rainfed rice-based systems (many of which are characterized by unfavorable environments and extreme poverty).