Rice is the staple food for about 2.4 billion people and provides more than 20% of their daily calorie intake. This number will increase to 4.6 billion people by 2050. Just to meet the projected demand for rice in the 21st Century, the world's annual rough rice production must increase from 520 million tons today to at least 880 million tons by 2025, an increase of almost 70%. That requirement may rise to one billion tons by the year 2050.
To produce such an increase, on decreasing arable land, with reduced water resources, with less rural labor input, and with fewer agrochemical inputs, will require major contributions from research to increase yields and reduce inputs, costs and losses. And, more important, it will require coordinated national and international scientific efforts and, above all, strong political will, determined governments and major investments in food research in the rice-consuming countries of the world.
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