The Challenges of Rice Sustainability: The Increasing World’s Population and Climate Change

Sustainable food and agriculture play an important role in the economy. To address the increasing impacts of the world population and the environment, the editor-in-chief of rice talks about the challenges of maintaining rice sustainability, one of the world’s major staple foods.

By Takuji Sasaki

Rice is one of the main staple crops which feeds about half of the world’s population. Its cultivation triggered the start of agriculture almost ten thousand years ago, and since then, farmers have made tremendous efforts to increase the yield under tropical and subtropical areas. Currently, approximately 160 Mha of paddy fields throughout the world produce about 500 million tons of rice annually. However, this amount is not enough to feed the ever-growing population, particularly in many developing countries in Asia and Africa. In an article published last year in the journal Rice titled ‘Rice Improvement Through Genome-Based Functional Analysis and Molecular Breeding in India’, it states how Indians helped generate resources for rice improvement and to mitigate loss due to environmental stress and pathogens.

By 2030, the production of Rice needs to grow by 50% to meet the population growth, and as this crop is so easily affected by climate instability, more research needs to be carried out to maintain this in the coming years.

In many developing countries, rice is the primary source of nutrition; however, malnutrition and diseases like diabetes and cancer are still a serious issue. Biofortification strategies and rice breeding programs could help meet the current and future nutritional needs of a rapidly expanding global population.

Further increase in yield has become necessary as the world faces the challenge of feeding nine billion people in 2050 amidst all the environmental challenges due to climate change. In this study, investigates the effects of genome duplication on rice root resistance to salt stress. To overcome these problems, rice scientists are making continuous efforts to understand rice biology from molecular to ecological viewpoints, and to address various issues facing rice cultivation.

The Rice journal launched after the completion of the rice genome sequencing and aims to publish articles focusing on current advances in rice genetics and genomics.

In the celebration of “Earth Day” in 2017, the journal wishes to reinforce its commitment to publish research achievements on one of the most valuable plant resources in our planet.

Previously published on Springeropen.com and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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