Climate Change and Food Production in Asia

25 June 2013
Dr. Krishna Jagadish SV, Molecular Plant Physiologist, Crop Environmental Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines – Producing more rice in the future is a growing challenge for the agriculture industry in Asia especially now that the adverse effects of climate change are becoming more prevalent. 

According to Dr. Krishna Jagadish SV, Molecular Plant Physiologist in the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), statistics show that nearly 560 million people living on less than USD 1.25 a day depend on rice—most of whom are from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

Driven by both population and economic growth, it is projected that an additional 116 million tons of rice will be needed to support the rice-consuming populations of the world. Thus, there is a huge demand to produce more rice in the future, but the challenges brought about by climate change such as sea level rise, floods, and increase in temperature make this goal more difficult to achieve.

Dr. Jagadish, therefore, asserted that research studies that address the impacts of climate change on rice production play a vital role in ensuring food security for developing countries.  He then discussed the progress of the research conducted by IRRI scientists particularly in the development of rice varieties that can tolerate extreme climatic conditions, including drought, heat, cold and submergence, and salinity.

At the end of his lecture, Dr. Jagadish invited everyone to be part of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), an evolving alliance of IRRI, Africa Rice Center, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), L'Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and hundreds of research and development partners worldwide.  GRiSP also offers scholarship grants for young agricultural scientists pursuing their PhD in the field of rice science and related systems research.