Global food security requires a major re-focusing of plant sciences, crop improvement and production agronomy towards rice grain over coming decades, with intensive research and development to identify climate-resilient cultivars with improved grain characteristics. Labs contributing to this special issue have undertaken research and breeding to improve varieties, together with innovative production agronomy which contributes to the sustainability of cropping systems. The reviews and research together form an invaluable resource for the research community and policymakers.
Rice production system contributes to the reduction of hunger and poverty, improving long-term food security and adaptation to climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) facilitated the FAO Strategy on Climate Change for Global, Regional, National and Local level in 2017, focusing on rice sector as one of the focus crops. This initiative was introduced with the following objectives to (i) enhance institutional capacities of member states, (ii) improve integration of food security within the international climate agenda, and (iii) strengthen internal coordination and delivery of FAO’s work. The FAO initiative was also linked to a growing recognition of the contribution of rice to critical targets under Sustainable Development Goal 2, particularly regarding food access, malnutrition and smallholder incomes, as well as sustainable and resilient agriculture.
The workshop is aligned with FFTC’s Strategic Action Plan 2019-2020 on climate smart agriculture. Recognizing that increasing the global production of rice has the potential to provide a sustainable solution to food security and resilience to climate change, significant efforts are currently being made to increase genomic resources and apply innovative breeding techniques to improve the yield and nutritional quality of rice. Production agronomy and improved cultivation approaches could also be intensified to address the associated economic and environmental challenges.