The second green revolution has begun: rice research and global food security
To meet the world’s growing food security needs and face the parallel challenges of improving nutrition and reducing poverty under a changing global climate, a second – science-based – Green Revolution in agriculture is already under way. In the branch of this revolution devoted to rice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its collaborators in the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) – the CGIAR’s Research Program on Rice – are already tapping into other ongoing revolutions in genetics, molecular biology, and plant physiology.
We have also begun to exploit the explosion of computation capacity and remote sensing to model systems at scales ranging from the cell to ecosystems and regions. Armed with the new knowledge being generated by cutting-edge science, we are working to:
- Link soil biology and chemistry to better understand and manipulate sustainable nutrient supplies;
- Develop better water and nutrient management tools; and
- Proactively link the political and social dimensions of agriculture to technology development.
With all this going for us, the second Green Revolution is allowing us to successfully meet the great challenges before us with unprecedented research efforts that will result in unparalleled impact – ranging from mining the rice genomes for needed traits to developing climate-ready rice and from fighting human malnutrition with more nutritious rice to better managing and using water and nutrient resources in farmers’ rice fields. Advances in understanding what is happening in rice production at regional scales will also enlighten policy makers and lead to more transparent rice markets and a more stable rice trade.