By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — The Laguna-based International Rice Research Institute has proposed to governments and international agencies a nine-point program of short- and long-term interventions to increase rice yields and make the staple more affordable to the world’s poor. “Rice production can be revitalized, but there are no silver bullets. The world community must invest now and for a long time to come,” it said in a paper titled “The rice crisis: what needs to be done.”
According to IRRI, a second Green Revolution is needed now as much as the first one, to avoid famine and mass starvation. Of the 1.1 billion people living on less than a dollar day, around two thirds live in rice-consuming countries of Asia.
Poor people spend as much as 30 to 40 percent of their income on rice alone, and thus, the sharp increase in rice prices is a major cause for concern.
“Increased research investment together with policy reforms that make rice markets more efficient will help bring rice prices down to a level affordable to the poor, and ultimately reduce poverty,” it said.