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Self-sufficiency in rice and food security: a South Asian perspective

Bishwajit, Ghose, Sarker, Sajeeb, Kpoghomou, Marce-Amara, Gao, Hui, Jun, Liu, Yin, Daogen, Ghosh, Sharmistha
Agriculture & food security 2013 v.2 no.1 pp. 38
crop production, economic development, fertilizers, food security, infrastructure, irrigation, malnutrition, people, rice, South Asia
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study are twofold. First, it attempts to show the general situation and production trend of rice. Then by relating it to the current status and future potential, it proposes that reaching self-sufficiency in rice production is the paramount item on the food security agenda in this region. South Asia is world’s most densely populated region and houses the largest population of undernourished people. Despite a period of marked economic growth averaging 6% a year over the past 20 years, it remains the world’s second poorest region with more than 500 million people living on less than US$1.25 a day. Yet, there has been a considerable improvement in food security steered by the Green Revolution, use of high-yielding rice varieties, increasing investments in agriculture, improved fertilizer use and irrigation infrastructure and the potential for further increase remains high. Firstly this paper scrutinizes the role rice has been playing in the economy and food security of SouthAsia so far and that it is still the most potential means to improve the food security situation and tackle severe undernutrition as other sectors are, until now, far less furnished to address this issue. This paper probes into various economic and historical perspectives of rice economy and culture in this region, and shows that self-sufficiency in rice production is paramount to its domestic food security, and thereby proposes that emphasis should be given on increased rice production which is decelerating amid the upsurge of modern economic sectors.