Chairman Rice Research and Development Board Punjab Shahzad Ali Malik here on Sunday said that challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and pests can affect rice production in Pakistan.
However, hectic efforts must be made on top priority to address these issues through research and development, improved farming practices and policy support to ensure the continued importance and sustainability of rice as a cash crop in the country’s economy, he said while talking to a delegation of plant breeders led by Prof Dr Muhammad Arshad Javed,Chairman Plant Breeding and Genetics Punjab University.
Shahzad Ali Malik said that rice was one of the most important cash crops in Pakistan, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. He said that Pakistan was one of the major exporters of rice in the world as rice exports were playing a crucial role in earning foreign exchange for the country.
He said its cultivation and the associated value chain provide employment opportunities to a significant portion of the rural population in Pakistan.
Farmers, laborers, millers, traders, and exporters are all involved in the rice industry, creating jobs and improving livelihoods, he added. —APP
ISLAMABAD-Punjab Rice Research and Development Board Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik here on Sunday said that challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and pests can affect rice production in Pakistan. However, hectic efforts must be made on top priority to address these issues through research and development, improved farming practices and policy support to ensure the continued importance and sustainability of rice as a cash crop in the country’s economy, he said while talking to a delegation of plant breeders led by Prof Dr Muhammad Arshad Javed, Chairman Plant Breeding and Genetics Punjab University. Shahzad Ali Malik said that rice was one of the most important cash crops in Pakistan, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. He said that Pakistan was one of the major exporters of rice in the world as rice exports were playing a crucial role in earning foreign exchange for the country.
He said its cultivation and the associated value chain provide employment opportunities to a significant portion of the rural population in Pakistan. Farmers, labourers, millers, traders, and exporters are all involved in the rice industry, creating jobs and improving livelihoods, he added. About the trade competitiveness, he said Pakistan’s rice industry competes internationally due to the quality and diversity of its rice varieties. By maintaining a strong presence in the global rice market, he said Pakistan enhances its trade competitiveness and expands its export opportunities. He said that the rice sector was contributing to Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) significantly and the income generated from rice cultivation and its related activities directly contributed to the agricultural sector’s overall contribution to the country’s GDP.
He said its cultivation serves as a means of poverty alleviation in rural areas of Pakistan. He said small scaled farmers, who constitute a substantial portion of the rice-growing community are able to generate income and improve their living standards through rice farming. About the rural development, he said the cultivation of rice plays a significant role in rural development by stimulating economic activities in rural areas. It encourages infrastructure development, supports the growth of ancillary industries, and helps improve living standards in rural communities, he remarked.
LAHORE: Chairman Rice Research and Development Board Punjab Shahzad Ali Malik warned that challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, and pests can affect rice production in Pakistan and hectic efforts must be made on top priority to address these issues through research and development, improved farming practices, and policy support to ensure the continued importance and sustainability of rice as a cash crop in the country’s economy.
He said rice is one of the most important cash crops in Pakistan, contributing significantly to the country’s economy.
Talking to a delegation of plant breeders here today led by Prof Dr Muhammad Arshad Javed, Chairman Plant Breeding and Genetics Punjab University he said Pakistan is one of the major exporters of rice in the world, and rice exports play a crucial role in earning foreign exchange for the country.
The export of rice generates substantial revenue, contributing to the overall balance of trade and strengthening the economy, he added. He said its cultivation and the associated value chain provide employment opportunities to a significant portion of the rural population in Pakistan. Farmers, laborers, millers, traders, and exporters are all involved in the rice industry, creating jobs and improving livelihoods, he added.
About trade competitiveness, he said Pakistan’s rice industry competes internationally due to the quality and diversity of its rice varieties. By maintaining a strong presence in the global rice market, Pakistan enhances its trade competitiveness and expands its export opportunities.
He said the rice sector contributes to Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) significantly and the income generated from rice cultivation and its related activities directly contributes to the agricultural sector’s overall contribution to the country’s GDP.
He said its cultivation serves as a means of poverty alleviation in rural areas of Pakistan. He said small scale farmers, who constitute a substantial portion of the rice-growing community, are able to generate income and improve their living standards through rice farming.
Regarding food security, Shahzad Ali Malik said it is a staple food in Pakistan, and the country’s growing population relies on it as a major dietary component. He said the production of rice ensures food security by providing a stable supply of this important crop to meet the domestic consumption needs.
About rural development, he said the cultivation of rice plays a significant role in rural development by stimulating economic activities in rural areas. It encourages infrastructure development, supports the growth of ancillary industries, and helps improve living standards in rural communities.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023
Rice is Pakistan’s second-biggest crop after Wheat in terms of cultivated area. Besides being the second staple crop and contributing 2 million tons to our food requirement, it also acts as a cash crop.
In FY 2022, Pakistan exported $2.5 billion worth of rice, making it the 4th largest exporter. It’s also a major contributor to employment and income for rural households, but at what cost?
Rice is the water-thirstiest crop in the world, as it’s grown in standing water to control weeds. According to studies, it takes 3000–5000 liters of water to produce a single kilogram of Rice in Pakistan. Climate Change is hitting the South Asian Country in the worst ways possible with floods in monsoons and droughts at the start of the Kharif Season.
Water Shortage and Challenges So Far
Irrigation water availability has been increasingly declining for the past few years, especially during the Kharif season. Indus River System Authority (IRSA) estimated a 19 percent shortage for 2021 and 27 percent for the last year while its meeting convened last week forecasted a 37 percent water scarcity for the upcoming Kharif season. Our per capita water availability has plummeted from 5,650 cubic meters in 1951 to 908 cubic meters in 2022. Even if the Government magically reaches a consensus and builds new dams before the situation worsens, we might still be unable to afford such extravagant use in agriculture with increased demand in urban population centers.
It’s critical to seek and disseminate effective conservation practices so we can ensure rice productivity and food security. The traditional transplanting and continuously flooded system is a significant contributor to overall rice production and is highly effective in controlling weeds, ensuring optimum plant stand, and achieving higher yields.
But it’s enormously inefficient in terms of irrigation and requires a large amount of water to keep the field flooded. Scientists are working on tons of water-conserving alternatives but few of these technologies have been found uniquely successful and have been largely adopted. Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) and Alternate Wetting and Drying are two.
Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) was developed by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the 1970s. It involved alternate flooding and drying throughout the cropping season depending on the soil water threshold level, the physical appearance of the soil, or after fixed non-flooded days. It can essentially reduce the water inputs from 25 percent to 70 percent given the soil type and climatic conditions.
“AWD is the only plausible sustainable and eco-friendly rice cultivation method,” stated Basit Mustafa, Agronomist at Ricult which is a US-based Agritech solution provider operating in Pakistan and Thailand. Ricult utilizes AI & Data to provide insights along with affordable credit and other fintech solutions.
“We have achieved up to 30 percent more water savings in Pakistan with AWD and there is also room for improvement depending on soil & climate,” added Basit.
The technique is under large-scale dissemination and adoption in the Philippines, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, China, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, and Brazil. In field studies, AWD has been found to increase the profits by 38-42 percent in tube well irrigation with yield increase.
Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) technology entails sowing rice in either moist or dry soil (immediately irrigated). Since no transplanting is needed in this practice, it results in up to 75 percent labor savings. Mechanization of Rice is still in the early stages and labor has been hard to arrange in rural areas in recent years due to the youth moving to cities. Irrigation and herbicides are carefully managed in this method to ensure that the crop does not suffer from either the weed or the moisture stress. It can also result in up to 30 percent water savings.
The major challenge of cultivating rice without flooded conditions is controlling weeds. Some new weeds like Red Rice have also emerged in the fields which are strongly resistant to conventional herbicides and are hard to manage without flooding.
“DSR can be widely adopted in arid regions if we can come up with ways to control weeds without flooding the fields. There are herbicides available internationally for Red Rice by the MNCs but they have deliberately avoided introducing them in the Pakistani market,” added Basit.
There is the need to train farmers on modern lines to conserve water and the government’s continuous incompetence in doing so. It’s one thing when we lack solutions and need capital and time to put in R&D to come up with them, but we already have solutions.
Our universities and research institutes give a lot of effort into dozens of studies to establish the efficacy of these techniques in our local soil and climate but in the end, we either fail to ensure the widespread adoption or the concerned department never put their total weight behind it in the first place. You go into the field, meet farmers, and realize that for whatever reason, even the most basic practices introduced by the agriculture department decades ago haven’t made their way into their field.
There is a need be a consensus between research institutes and agricultural departments and the farm advisory services need to be overhauled to ensure that the farming community gets the motivation or incentive to follow the best practices available out there.
This is according to a study by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture
New Delhi, March 21
Climate change—in the coming years—is going to make a huge impact on one of the important sectors of Indian economy, agriculture. According to the study by the National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), agri produce, in the absence of the adaptation measures, would plummet a great deal.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Rain-fed rice yield in the country is projected to reduce by 20 per cent by 2050 and by 47 per cent by 2080, while wheat yield by 19.3 per cent by 2050, and by 40 per cent by 2080 with significant spatial and temporal variations. Climate change is projected to reduce the kharif maize yield by 18-23 per cent by 2050.
“The Centre, through its various ministries and departments, continues to assess the impacts of climate change: taking into account new data and increased scientific knowledge on the subject,” said the Environment Ministry in Lok Sabha, in a reply to a question on the steps taken by the Centre to study the impact of climate change.
However, the Agriculture Ministry in another reply said the ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal, and All India Coordinating Research Project on Wheat and Barley, were working on developing climate-resilient varieties. They were also keeping a strict vigil on disease situation in the country, said the ministry.
Listing out the new varieties, the agriculture ministry in the Rajya Sabha said: “From 2014 to 2023, a total of 156 wheat varieties have been released. The wheat varieties such as DBW303 and DBW187 have an average yield of eight tonnes per hectare. Further, 28 bio-fortified varieties of wheat have been developed by ICAR which are rich in multi-nutrients. These are DBW327, DBW332 and DDW47, etc.”
The restrictions are threatening to ignite inflation for yet another key commodity, and may deprive some of the globe's poorest nations of a crucial element of their diet.
Food supply, already squeezed by shortages in wheat, corn and cooking oils, is at risk of even more disruption, this time from the rice market.
India is clamping down on exports of the staple for half the world’s population, with the market’s focus now turning to the capacity of other major producers including Thailand and Vietnam to fill the gap. The restrictions are threatening to ignite inflation for yet another key commodity, and may deprive some of the globe’s poorest nations of a crucial element of their diet.
India is the single largest exporter with a 40 per cent share of global rice trade. The government has imposed a 20 per cent duty on shipments of white and brown rice, and banned broken rice sales abroad. Those varieties mainly go toward feeding Asia and Africa and affect roughly 60 per cent of India’s overall rice exports.
“Such severe disruptions in global supplies, combined with a record level of consumption worldwide, should supercharge” prices and further fuel food inflation, said Sabrin Chowdhury, head of commodities at Fitch Solutions. When the war in Ukraine sent agricultural prices skyrocketing earlier this year, rice escaped the frenzy, keeping Asia and some Middle Eastern and African nations insulated from a bigger food crisis. The surge in corn and wheat encouraged some substitution away from these more expensive grains toward cheaper alternatives like rice. That may be about to change.
India’s policy will drive up its export prices to levels similar to white rice grades from rivals Thailand and Vietnam, prompting buyers to shift toward those suppliers instead, according to Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
When that happens, it will push up Thai and Vietnamese prices as well, dealing a blow to importing nations in Asia and Africa that consume the grain as a main staple, Chookiat said. “Imposing a 20 per cent levy is a big deal,” he said. “This move will cause global rice prices to rally.”
Thailand’s benchmark 5 per cent white rice was quoted at $431 a ton this week by the exporters association, while the same grade from Vietnam was around $393-$397 a ton. India’s prices were well below that at around $338-$342.
While Thailand and Vietnam recently agreed to cooperate on boosting prices, without providing details, Chookiat said Thailand is unlikely to restrict exports as the country has a surplus and there are no worries about local supplies.
Thailand usually produces about 20 million tons of milled rice a year, of which 11 million is consumed and the rest exported.
Chookiat said it’s impractical to curb overseas sales as the surplus, if left unsold, would hurt domestic prices and burden the government with storage costs and farmer subsidies. Back in 2007-08, a global food crisis was triggered when both India and Vietnam restricted exports of rice. Prices soared above $1,000 a ton, more than double the level now, amid a panic over supplies.
Nguyen Nhu Cuong, head of Vietnam’s agriculture ministry’s crop production unit, declined to comment on whether the country would curb exports, but said domestic supply and national food security must be taken into consideration when mulling such a move. Vietnam is able to ship 7 million tons of rice this year, up from an earlier forecast of about 6.7 million tons, he said.
Globally, output in several regions has been hit by bad weather. Besides India, which saw planting drop on lack of rain, China’s harvest is at risk from heat. Europe’s output is forecast to be the lowest since 1995-96 on severe drought in Italy and Spain, while a similar trend is seen in the US, Chowdhury said.
From the 4th to the 7th of November 2022, Phuket, Thailand will host the 19th International Symposium on Rice Functional Genomics ISRFG 2022 where we will see agricultural science “Driving the Next Green Revolution”
The annual ISRFG under the theme – “Driving the Next Green Revolution: New Frontiers in Food and Nutritional Security,” will provide relevant, up-to-date research and information about the current situation faced by rice farmers due to global warming.
The objective of this year’s ISRFG is to bring together the rice functional genomics research community to “discuss the new frontier research to mitigate the impact of global warming on rice productivity, food and nutritional security in the near future.”
Driving the Next Green Revolution: New Frontiers in Food and Nutritional Security
Topics expected to be covered at the conference include a range of issues all with a continuing focus on adapting agricultural practices for the ongoing and worsening climate challenges. According to the ISRFG “new frontiers research may include but are not limited to Efficient photosynthesis, Water and nitrogen use efficiency, Heat and drought tolerance, Sea rice, Net zero carbon emission rice, High-yielding organic rice, multiple disease and insect resistance, and High nutritious rice.”
“Comprehensive insight via functional genomics may impact more efficient precision breeding to drive the next green revolution into environmentally-friendly rice and future foods.”
“Comprehensive insight via functional genomics may impact more efficient precision breeding to drive the next green revolution into environmentally-friendly rice and future foods.”
The impact of climate change on Rice production
As of today, rice is a staple food for more than 3.5 billion people, its importance cannot be understated. As the climate is becoming increasingly fragile our planet will continue to experience weather extremes that require our agricultural sector to be prepared for.
The ISRFG is a prime opportunity for experts to share knowledge and strategies to undertake in the following months and years in order to protect the world’s rice and food supplies.
The ISRFG is hoping to ensure ‘adaptability under extreme climate changes and productivity of rice grown in environmentally friendly practices.
Climate change is rice crop nemesis, and it can have detrimental consequences on its yield and quality, as a result it will be hard for Pakistan to maintain food security with current economic situation and ongoing global supply chain crisis.
Punjab and Sindh are main producersof rice in Pakistan,about 90pc production of Pakistan total rice comes from these two provinces. Punjab, have moderate agricultural climatic zone and with the suitable soil conditions, which is feasible for basmati rice and it produce nearly 100pc of the Basmati variety rice for the Pakistan. The increased temperatures and decreased precipitation have a less or more negative impact on rice crop yield in Sindh, where an increase of 1°C in temperature and a 10pc decrease in precipitation, can reduce rice crop yield by 7.34pc in the short run and 13.33pc in the long run. Pakistan was ranked as the 3rdmost impacted country in the world by climate-related disasters in 2011. Pakistan is regarded one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its diverse population and physical makeup. Climate has a large impact on agricultural productivity. It is a critical component in crop productivity.
It is recommended that the efficient methods for utilisation of land, water, and fertiliser should be updated through adaptation and mitigation techniques in new developing regulations.The government must play its role by monitoring climate change and paying close attention to agricultural output. Rice producers’ adaptive production techniques will be influenced by well-defined planning and prudent policies. Crop varieties with climate resilience and new hybrids should be introduced. Newly developing crops with better heat and malnourishment tolerance should be introduced to assist reduce possible difficulties. Finally, the government might coordinate irrigation with other forward-thinking programmes. Because of the region’s high temperatures and poor irrigation infrastructure, access to modern irrigation systems may likely boost agricultural production. As a result, adaptation and mitigation measures can be used to overcome the situation and meet the climate change restrictions less or more effectively.
Pakistan mostly exports rice to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Rice is the second most significant food item consumed, and it also provides 21pc of the world’s human per capita calories and 15pc of per capita protein. It meets all of our country’s food needs while also providing a source of foreign cash through trade exports. On the other hand, rice supplies value-added goods or raw materials for the manufacture of paper, mattresses, starch, and other items. Unseen future changes connected with global warming temperature, carbon dioxide, and rainfall are projected to have an impact on rice production. It is evident that climate change is causing a rise in temperature, which has a negative influence on rice crops, eventually lowering crop yield and quality. A study indicated that climate change during the 1960s has reduced rice output by 12.4pc, with the major effect coming from reduced radiation. According to Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) an auxiliary organisation of US department of agriculture Pakistan rice output is expected to reach a record 9 MMT, propelling exports to a predicted 5 MMT but this forecast can be severely handicapped if we don’t tackle our climate change problem first.
- The annual monsoon rains have failed to arrive in Nepal as anticipated ahead of the rice-planting season, leaving farmers facing another season of loss and the country bracing for a food shortage.
- A senior government meteorologist says it’s still too early to link the lateness of the monsoon to climate change, but what’s certain is that climate change is already wreaking havoc with rainfall patterns in Nepal.
- Last year, a prolonged monsoon brought unexpected flash floods that cost farmers $93 million in damages.
- A decline in rice production this year could put Nepal’s already strained finances under even more pressure by forcing the country to import rice.
KATHMANDU — Thousands of farmers in Nepal’s fertile southern plains, the country’s rice bowl, face a double whammy of a fertilizer shortage and inadequate monsoon rains.
This is likely to affect production of the country’s staple grain, which also contributes around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product and provides employment of at least six months for a large proportion of the population.
“Paddy has been planted only in around 75% of the fields as of end of July,” said Suma Karki, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture. “Last year this time, the figure was around 88%.”
The monsoon clouds, which originate in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, are obstructed by the Himalayan mountain range when they try to move north. They then form a low-pressure band, shedding their moisture in the form of rain in the foothills of the mountains as well as the Gangetic plain that runs through Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The band, known as the monsoon trough, moves between the foothills of mountains in the north and the Indian plains in the south bringing rain wherever it goes.
“This monsoon season, the trough has remained in the Indian plains for a longer period than we’d expect it to,” said senior government meteorologist Indira Kandel. This is why Nepal’s southern plains haven’t received adequate rains for rice farmers this year, she added.
The monsoon rains account for 60-90% of Nepal’s total annual precipitation, and are crucial for the farmers who grow rice on around 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) of land, 75% of which lie in the southern Terai plains. Most of the farmers are dependent on the rains as the irrigation system in the country can’t cater to all their needs.
“Due to lack of adequate rain, the rice fields have developed cracks and the plants have dried up,” said Ranju Sharma, a farmer from the rural municipality of Katahari in Nepal’s Morang district, near the border with India.
Farmers such as Sharma are already under stress as large numbers of Nepali workers seek jobs abroad in India and the Middle East. This makes it difficult to plant rice on time as the traditional cultivation practices are labor intensive. In addition, unexpected issues pop up virtually every year that forces the farmers to bear huge losses.
This year, the farmers had anticipated that the main challenge would be a shortage of chemical fertilizers. The government, which used to supply fertilizer to farmers ahead of the monsoon season, failed to do so this year as the fertilizer couldn’t be imported in time. But the lack of rainfall has created more trouble.
“We were already worried that the output would go down this year due to lack of fertilizer, now the rainfall problem has added to our woes,” Sharma said.
The change in rainfall patterns in Nepal’s plains come as record heat waves, attributed to climate change, recently engulfed much of the Northern Hemisphere, including India. “It would be too early to say that the heat waves had anything to do with the behavior of the monsoon trough. But we can’t rule out that possibility,” Kandel said.
What is known is that a changing climate has changed the long-term precipitation patterns in Nepal. A report by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology suggests that although the volume of total rainfall hasn’t changed much, the intensity has. This means rainfall patterns have become hard to forecast, and the chances of flash floods have increased.
Many farmers say they still remember all too well the flash floods during last year’s monsoon, just as they were preparing for what they thought would be a good harvest. The monsoon, which typically leaves Nepal in late September, stayed longer last year, bringing unexpected rains in the second week of October. According to government figures, which usually underestimate damages, farmers suffered losses amounting to 11.87 billion rupees ($93 million).
As the monsoon trough moves north again, farmers say they hope it brings adequate rain this time before it heads back south again. “The rains should stop when they are supposed to stop,” Sharma said. “If it doesn’t, we might have to abandon rice farming altogether as we can’t take losses year after year.”
Nepal’s import-dependent economy, which is already under huge pressure due to rising fuel prices, could take another hit if rice production takes yet another major hit this year. The country, which only has sufficient foreign currency reserves to finance around seven months of imports, could face severe problems if the food import bill also rises, economists warn.
HANOI, VIETNAM – Abnormally cold weather, unseasonable rains and rising input costs led to a decrease in spring rice planted area and production in Vietnam, according to a Global Agricultural Information Report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
The report estimated that spring harvested area fell by 10,000 hectares from an estimate earlier this year to 3 million hectares and production declined from 20.5 million tonnes to 20.1 million.
FAS forecasts total 2021-22 rice output at 43.31 million tonnes, revised down from 43.73 million tonnes earlier in the year.
“Abnormally cold weather in the first quarter of this year and uneven rain distribution affected yields of the spring crop in the northern region,” FAS said. “Unseasonable rain has also not been beneficial for the spring crop in the southern region, reportedly affecting the harvest pace and kernel quality in some areas.”
The report also noted that Vietnamese farmers tend to reduce their use of fertilizers and pesticides when prices are consistently high, which can lead to lower yields.
UC Davis plant geneticist Pamela Ronald wants to create rice varieties that can survive in harsher conditions, including more frequent droughts.More at: Reinventing Rice for a World Transformed by Climate Change
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