Industry experts discuss the current challenges and future of rice research in Southeast Asia

 Alaric Santiaguel   |  

Leaders representing different sectors in Southeast Asia discussed how rice research needs to evolve to cater to the needs of an ever-growing population in the region at the 6th International Rice Congress.

Neighboring regions such as Africa experience a surge in demand for rice as people’s preferences and dietary requirements change. However, Africa is not a rice-growing region and many areas are not primed for rice production. Thus, African countries continuously import rice from Asia, which in turn puts pressure on Asian countries to produce more rice for export and to keep up with the domestic demand.

Similarly, a decrease in rice demand is projected as populations shift their lifestyles based on their socio-economic status. In ten years, another shift in dietary preferences is foreseen as 10% or more of the population from lower-income households become members of the middle class who typically consume less rice.

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