IRC 2023 discussion focuses on sustainable and farmer-inclusive policies to improve current global rice trends

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Manila, Philippines (October 16, 2023) — Global rice prices are heavily affected by the emergence of disruptive events. However, effective and inclusive government policies, backed by investments in sustainable agriculture, can help improve current trends in the world rice market.

This is the key takeaway from the discussion on the challenges facing Asian and African rice-producing countries led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), government officials, and business leaders at the 6th International Rice Congress.

“International rice prices have been rising for a time now,” said Shirley Mustafa, an economist with FAO’s Trade and Market Division in Rome.

Citing data in the October 2023 FAO Rice Price Update, Ms. Mustafa explained that recent market trends have been heavily influenced by multiple major global issues affecting the demand and supply sides of the industry. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic changed consumption patterns and India’s export ban on non-basmati and non-parboiled rice caused rice prices to increase significantly.

On the supply side, exporters were affected by changes in the prices of basic inputs like fertilizer forcing farmers to cultivate other crops instead of rice. Supply chains were also affected by weather conditions such as the monsoon floods that struck Pakistan in 2022.

Despite these setbacks, government officials remained optimistic about opportunities under the current economic situation.

“Cambodia has been improving research systems and technology transfer to support farmers so they can ultimately improve the quality of rice they produce,” said the Secretary of State, Ministry of Rural Development, Kingdom of Cambodia Suon Serey.

The ministry is also focusing on teaching Cambodian farmers sustainable farming techniques that are now being applied at the field level. These include alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology and sustainable rice straw…

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