By 2050, annual global rice consumption is estimated to rise from 450 million tons to 525 million tons. While more than 90 per cent of this rice is eaten in Asia, including the region’s 515 million people still affected by hunger, the demand for rice in Africa is growing at 7 per cent per year. More importantly, of the 667 million children under the age of 5 years world-wide, nearly 151 million are stunted as a result of malnutrition.

“The world is changing rapidly, and the future world rice economy will look much different than it does today,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “Diets are changing towards fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, although rice will remain the foundation of Asian diets, especially for the poor. Global rice trade is increasing, and climate change is affecting rice production.” FAO was therefore working with IRRI and other stakeholders to create relevant knowledge products to leverage the rapid technological changes taking place in the world.