Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


The Expert Consultation recognized that rice is the staple food of most people in Asia and hence security in rice production means food security. Rice is closely linked with the social harmony and political stability of many countries. However, recent trends of declining farmers’ productivity and profitability are discouraging many farmers from pursuing rice farming. It is therefore recommended that the governments should take appropriate action to improve rice farmers’ productivity and income while ensuring national food security.

Of the various strategies to achieve the minimum required production growth to raise and sustain the level of sufficiency in rice, consolidation of already gained genetic yield is widely recognized as the most practical short-term strategy. This requires precise assessment of the yield gap, identification of key technological, institutional, socio-economic and policy level constraints, and determination of appropriate remedies.

Yield gaps in rice ecosystems

a) Optimum attainable yield: is the rice yield of experimental/on-farm plots with no physical, biological and economic constraints and with the best-known management practices at a given time and ecology.

b) Farm level yield: is the average farmers’ yield in a given target area at a given time and ecology.

Factors contributing to the yield gap

The Consultation identified the following key constraints contributing to the yield gap:

a) Biophysical: managerial-weather, soil, water, pest pressure, weeds.

b) Technical/management: tillage, variety/seed selection, water, nutrients, weeds, pests and post-harvest management.

c) Socioeconomic: social/economic status, farmers’ traditions and knowledge, family size, household income/expenses/investment.

d) Institutional/Policy: government policy, rice price, credit, input supply, land tenure, market, Research, Development and Extension (RD&E).

e) Technology transfer and linkages: competence and resources of extension staff, RD & E integration, farmers’ cognitive blocks, knowledge and skills, linkage among public, private and NGO extension staff.

The specific constraints affecting rice productivity in different ecosystems of selected Asian countries were identified and are listed below:

Irrigated Rice Ecosystem
(*priority concerns)

* - Declining soil productivity and inappropriate/imbalanced nutrient use

* - Increasing severity of pest and disease pressure

* - Poor water management resulting in low Water Use Efficiency (WUE) and soil salinity/alkalinity problems

- Varietal appropriateness, availability, adoption problems

- Planting time and plant density problems

- Timely availability and quality of inputs (seed, fertilizer, pesticide)

- Post harvest losses

* - Declining profit

* - Inadequate research and extension support to farmers

Rainfed Lowland Ecosystem
(*priority concerns)
* - Low soil fertility and fertilizer use

- Problem soils (salinity, acidity, alkalinity, iron toxicity)

- Drought/flood problems

- Inadequate research (lack of location-specific varieties and production technologies)

* - Poor weed management

- Timely availability and quality of inputs (seed, fertilizer, pesticide)

- Post harvest losses

* - Low profit

* - Inadequate/ineffective extension support to farmers and slow adoption of recommended technologies

- Poor rural infrastructure

Upland Rice
(*priority concerns)
* - Drought

- Very low soil fertility and fertilizer use

* - Weed infestation

- Lack of location-specific varieties (blast resistant and drought tolerant) and production technologies

* - Inadequate research and extension support service

* - Low profit

The Expert Consultation recommends the development of a uniform system on a continuous basis for precisely assessing the levels of yield gaps and apportioning relative contribution of various factors to the yield gaps and productivity growth.

Mechanisms to reduce yield gaps

The different countries presented common and unique activities, programs, and strategies to reduce the yield gap. The Expert Consultation recognized that the narrowing of the yield gap of rice requires concerted efforts of all concerned parties, both national and international (GO, NGO, PO, IARC, UN agencies). Sensitization of policy and decision makers is an important activity in bridging the yield gap.

The Consultation agreed on the deployment of a holistic and participatory approach to address the yield gap problems. Key points of this strategy are as follows:

Regional project to bridge yield gap

The Consultation agreed to the development of a regional project that will focus on priority technical and management constraints and improvement of technology transfer and linkages. The specific institutional and policy interventions required to complement the effective implementation of the regional project will be forwarded to the respective governments for consideration and favorable action.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page