Rice is well-known for its importance as a food source in many regions of the world, including the most populous continent, Asia. Therefore, an efficient rice breeding program in these areas would save millions of people, especially those in such harsh conditions as drought or potential famine. It is generally known that the Green Revolution in rice, initiated and successfully led by Norman Borlaug, has saved many people in the world and prevented a food crisis. Green Revolution refers to the development of grain production associated with the scientific discovery of new hybrid seed varieties of wheat, rice, and corn. As a result, it has brought out high farm yields in many developing countries, especially in Asia. Therefore, when there are new waves of innovations in the global rice sector, they are expected to make positive changes in the world again.
First of all, the innovative planting or cultivation technologies in the global rice sector, which will produce dramatically higher yields than traditional methods, would help increase rice production. Cost of rice production is expected to be reduced while profit is raised accordingly with productivity on the increasing trend. When rice production increases substantially, it would make those countries become rice exporters, getting more benefits from the global trade. In addition, the availability of rice would help prevent food crisis. Due to the growing population in the world, the food demand is rising remarkably, which presses the issue of food security not only to scientists in agriculture but also to economic and political leaders around the world. Moreover, if there is a launch of rice varieties such as a type of rice genes with enhanced disease resistance or drought tolerance or flood resistance, it would be beneficial to many countries, especially developing countries. In these nations, there is a serious issue about the diet or quality of nutrition. If the rice gets better kinds and quality, it would improve the situation of malnutrition and hunger.
Second, it should be expected that innovation in global rice production would help farmers engage in environmentally friendly agriculture, which will decrease degradation of agricultural land as well as protect the environment from the excessive use of agricultural chemical insecticides and pesticides. As far as we know, the use of fertilizers or insecticides and pesticides will be helpful to the paddy in many places if they are used properly. However, overusing chemicals would destroy the cultivating soil, gradually affecting productivity and quality of rice production, and then threaten also the safety of the environment. Besides this, innovation in the agricultural sector would possibly reduce heavy reliance on harmful materials. In addition, the health risk related to rice or agricultural produce planted by excessive chemicals would possibly be reduced. Furthermore, it could probably promote organic farming and processing of not only rice but also agricultural produce, which would avoid pollution of land, water, and air.
Last but not the least, improvements in the technologies related to agriculture would help reduce the manual laborers in the sector, which instead will be supported by the modern mechanism. Indeed, when the workload is carried out by machinery, it would significantly save time and improve efficiency. Moreover, if there is an advancement in agricultural technology, such as weather forecasts and analyses, it would be useful and informative for farmers to propose and prepare solutions in advance of changing weather conditions when it comes to rice production. This is because natural conditions vary throughout the world. Climate change is a severe problem not only to rice production but also to other agricultural produce. Some regions such as Asia or Africa tend to witness unexpected weather conditions in production, which really need assistance from innovations.
In conclusion, food security, climate change, or other factors are exposed to global rice production so there is an urgent need for innovations coming from this sector. Raising yields while reducing unnecessary costs and protecting the environment seems a tough duty, but it is worth the scientific effort and monetary and time investment. Promoting knowledge, sharing information, and adopting technological solutions would add more value to global rice production. When innovations are launched worldwide, they are anticipated to prevent related global catastrophes.
Note: The views and opinions on this essay are those of the author's and do not reflect those of the institute and its partners.
Trang Dang Huyen
Trang Dang Huyen is a graduate student, pursuing a Master degree in Economic Policy.