The International Rice Commission (IRC) was established by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1949 in face of the stagnation of world rice production during the 1940s to promote national and international action in matters relating to the production, conservation, distribution and consumption of rice. The first Regular Session of the International Rice Commission was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 1949. The Commission meets at least every four years. The most recent meeting, the 21st Session was convened in Peru in May 2006.
An expert meeting, the Global Rice Roundtable was convened in Montpellier, France in July 2012 to consider possible future directions of the International Rice Commission. The report is available here.
The 22nd Session of the Commission is scheduled for 29-30 November 2012 in Rome Italy.
Membership in the International Rice Commission is open to all member countries and associate members of FAO. In order to become a Member of the Commission, the country must submit an Instrument of Acceptance to the FAO Director-General.
Since 1949, the IRC has grown, from 12 to 62 members. The 62 members of the Commission represent five continents: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. In 2005, the rice production in the 62 member countries contributed about 98.43% to the global rice output. Similarly the harvested rice area in these countries was about 98.08 % of the global rice harvested area in 2005.
Functions of the Commission
Article IV of the Constitution, which was amended by the Fifteen Session (1982), stated that the Commission shall, except in matters relating to international trade, perform the following functions:
- Review the scientific, technical, and economic problems involved in the production, conservation, distribution, and consumption of rice;
- Encourage and coordinate research on the above-mentioned problems and promoting its practical application;
- Undertake, where necessary and appropriate, co-operative projects directed to solve of the above-mentioned problems;
- Provide recommendations to the Members of the Commission, through the FAO Director-General, regarding necessary or desirable national and international actions as may appear to the Commission for the solution of the above-mentioned problems;
- Provide recommendations to the FAO Director-General on the provision of technical assistance to Members of the Commission;
- Assemble and disseminate, through the FAO publications and other mediums, information relating to the problems and activities pertinent to the functions of the Commission; and
- Transmit at appropriate intervals to the FAO Director-General a report embodying views, recommendations and decisions of the Commission, and produce other reports on matters relating to the production, conservation, distribution and consumption of rice, at the specific request of the FAO Director-General or the Conference of the Organization.