By Andy Nelson
Senior Scientist-Geographer and Head-GIS Lab
Social Sciences Division (SSD)
Food production must increase sustainably to meet future demands. The regions that must contribute most to future food security—Africa, Asia, and Latin America—are home to around 1 billion poor people; these regions also face rapid changes in climate, demography, economy, and technology. Statistical data on productivity and agriculture in emerging economies and low-income countries are generally unreliable, yet these are exactly the places where good information is needed. Poor decisions on food security issues, partly based on poor data, lead to unintended and generally negative consequences, especially for the most vulnerable in society.
There is high demand from policy makers, researchers, and the private sector for alternative and better sources of information to support decision-making for food security applications. These stakeholders need measures that are consistent across time and space so that (1) interventions to increase yield and or profit can be accurately targeted, (2) solid and repeatable research can be conducted, (3) financial safety nets can be put in place, and (4) progress toward higher sustainable rice production can be properly measured.
This seminar describes how IRRI and its partners have been using Geographic Information Science and Remote Sensing to derive accurate, timely, and reliable information on rice production systems and how this work can be expanded in the future.