Devoting a year to a commodity was an unprecedented step in United Nations
history. Compelling factors lie under this decision: the spectre of
increased hunger, malnutrition, poverty and conflict in the coming decades.
In 2002, these factors moved the government of the Philippines, along with
43 other countries, to formally request that the UN General Assembly declare
2004 the International Year of Rice. But the idea had been circulating among
major agricultural organisations since 1999 due to growing concern that
fundamental issues needed to be tackled on a global level.
A number of international institutions came together to steer
this vital project alongside the Food and Agriculture Organization. This
section provides information on IYR partners and on why the UN launched a Year of Rice.