This chapter talks about rice, the diversity of rice production systems, and challenges that the global rice sector faces. Rice is the oldest domesticated food crop and it flourishes in monsoon environments. It is an important part of culture and it is important for direct human consumption, and about 75 percent of the world’s poor rely on rice as their main staple food source. For every additional 1 billion people on earth, we need to produce about 100 million more tons of rice each year. Most rice is produced and consumed in Asia and never enters the global trade flow. Up to one-fifth of the whole world population is in one way or another involved in the production and use of rice, including many women. Rice is an important political and economic factor that affects many countries in the world. Irrigated intensive rice accounts for half of the world’s rice area and has high yields and stable production, while rained production is more risky. There are four big challenges for the global rice sector: producing more rice, adapting rice farming to an increasingly harsher climate, reducing the environmental footprint of rice, and needing structural transformation of the rice sector to integrate smaller farms into bigger units of service. This chapter also provides two case studies of experimental farming.
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