"Rice is life": International Rice Commission meets in Peru
World experts discuss ways to promote rice production and consumption
24 April 2006, Rome/Lima – The International Rice Commission (IRC) will hold its 21st Session, 3-5 May 2006, in Chiclayo, Peru to discuss ways and means to promote international action on production, preservation, distribution and consumption of rice.
Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture of Peru and FAO, the meeting will gather officials from 61 countries, members of the Commission, and partner institutions.
Rice is the main staple of more than half the world’s population and constitutes 20 percent of the total food energy intake of the world's population. In Asia, more than 2 billion persons derive between 60 and 70 percent of their daily dietary energy from rice and its by-products.
About four-fifths of the world’s rice is produced by small-scale farmers. It is mostly consumed locally, but rice trade is increasing. Rice systems support a wide variety of plants and animals, which also help supplement rural diets and incomes.
According to FAO, almost a billion households in Asia, Africa and the Americas depend on rice systems for their main source of employment and livelihood. Rice production in sub-Saharan Africa is now expanding faster than any other crop.
Twenty-six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean cultivate rice, but the region’s production is only 4.3 percent of the world total. In Peru, rice production contributes about 10 percent to national agricultural production and uses more than 40 million man-days, from planting till harvest.
In Peru, rice consumption is higher than in other countries in Latin America. It is estimated at about 50 kg of milled rice per person annually.
This year, the theme of the 21st Session of the IRC is “Rice is Life – Bringing the Implementation of the International Year of Rice to Farmers’ Fields”.
The United Nations declared 2004 as the International Year of Rice to underline the need to coordinate efforts to combat poverty, improve food security and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Country representatives will present and analyse their national rice research and development programmes. They will discuss actions for sustainable increases of rice production, reduction of its environmental impact, and mitigation of hunger of affected populations in the world.
The International Rice Commission organizes a Session every four years to review emerging issues and recent achievements in scientific, technical and socio-economic matters relating to sustainable rice production and rice-based farming systems.
In addition, the Commission’s Session assists member countries in orienting strategies for the development of national rice programmes, and promotes extensive interaction among national, regional and international institutions. The 20th Session of the Commission took place in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2002.
According to FAO, there are still more than 850 million persons undernourished, including more than 200 million children in developing countries, for whom rice is an important food.
The development of rice-based production systems is expected to contribute greatly to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, since rice is a staple for many poor people.
Sr. Nelson Larrea Lora
Coordinador Nacional del Programa para el Desarrollo de la Amazonía PROAMAZONIA
Ministerio de Agricultura
Psje. Fco. de Zela 150, 9° piso, Jesús María, Lima, Perú
Fax: (+51) 1 424 2317
Mobile: (+51) 9638 7856
Mr. N.V. Nguyen, Secretary, IRC
Tel. (+39) 06 570 56265
Fax: (+39) 06 570 56347
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