Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Filled rice bowls: renewed complacency?

An IRRI Seminar 

By Bas Bouman
Director, Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP)

12 May 2016
1:15-2:15 p.m.
Havener Auditorium


As IRRI prepares for its new strategic plan and we peer into the future, one of the key questions we ask is: How much rice will the world need? In this IRRI seminar, we will look into the past, analyze the present, and peek into the future. What has been the track record of feeding the world with rice? How did we do since the first Green Revolution? And how did we do more recently since the crisis of 2008? What is the supply-demand situation at the moment and, given the current severe droughts, should we be worried? How does the medium-long term outlook look like?

IRRI is predicting that the world’s demand for rice will keep increasing at least in the coming decade, whereas critics say that IRRI is biased and that the world will soon eat less rice than it does today. Drivers of change include population growth, economic growth, and related shifts in dietary preferences.

Based on our analyses, we warn against a return to complacency. In 1997, Prabu Pingali (former program leader at IRRI) revealed that the good years of the 1980s and early 1990s had induced a general sense of complacency that could lead to a return of the food crises in the 1960-70s. Now, almost ten years after a successful recovery from the 2008 rice/food crisis, the world is in danger of becoming complacent yet again, with all its possible dire consequences.

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