The IRC provides a platform to discuss results of scientific endeavors and to set new targets for further research. But, it also provides an inclusive and safe space to share and debate new ideas and suggestions, to forge partnerships, to explore opportunities provided by new disruptive technologies (such as robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and gene editing), and to learn from actors in other sectors, such as food, health, and nutrition.
The fifth International Rice Congress (IRC2018) will be held 15-17 October 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands convention center in Singapore. IRC2018 will host the world’s largest gathering of scientists and experts from the rice industry, along with government and nongovernment representatives from the global rice sector. The IRC is organized once every four years, with previous ones held in Beijing (2002), New Delhi (2006), Hanoi (2010), and Bangkok (2014).
Rice is the staple food for some four billion people worldwide and it will remain one of the world’s most important food crops in the coming decades. About 900 million of the world’s poor depend on rice as producers or consumers. Of these, 400 million poor and undernourished people are engaged in growing rice. Moreover, with increasing concerns about health and nutrition, we urgently need to improve the nutritional quality of rice-based diets.
At the same time, rice will have to be produced, processed, and marketed in more sustainable and environment-friendly ways, despite the diminishing resources (land, water, labor, and energy) and the problems brought about by climate change. To address these complex challenges, the full power of science needs to be mobilized and put in the service of developing solutions. Hence, the theme of this year’s edition of the IRC is “transformative science for food and nutrition security.”
But, the IRC doesn’t stop at science.
Partnerships across all the actors in the rice sector—from academia to nongovernment organizations, public and private enterprises, policymakers, and farmers—are needed to develop and implement solutions that meet global and local needs. The IRC provides a platform to discuss results of scientific endeavors and to set new targets for further research. But, it also provides an inclusive and safe space to share and debate new ideas and suggestions, to forge partnerships, to explore opportunities provided by new disruptive technologies (such as robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and gene editing), and to learn from actors in other sectors, such as food, health, and nutrition.
To stimulate the exchange of ideas among a broad array of rice sector actors and stakeholders, the IRC will feature several events: the 30th International Rice Research Conference (IRRC), the eight Rice Genetics Symposium (RG8), a rice exhibition, contributed side events, distinguished keynote presentations, and high-level panel discussions among thought leaders from the industry.
While the IRRC, RG8, and side events will focus on science, other side events, the exhibition, and the panel discussions will stimulate the exchange of ideas, partnerships, and the exploration of new ways of doing things.
The city of Singapore offers an exciting opportunity to specifically address transformative science. Though not known as a rice-growing nation, Singapore is a regional knowledge hub and it hosts premier Asian universities, novel, and start-up high-tech companies, and major players in the regional and global rice industry and value chain. Pre- and postcongress tours will be designed to visit some of these innovation centers and to offer participants the opportunity to forge new and creative partnerships. In addition, Singapore is an exciting and dynamic city where diverse cultures meet and many attractions await the visitor.
On behalf of the Science and Program Committee, I’d like to welcome you to Singapore and to the fifth International Rice Congress. See you there!