Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ASEAN mulls collaboration on rice supply

Over 90 percent of the world's rice is produced and consumed in the Asia-Pacific region where more than three billion people live.

A population projection made for 2025 by FAO shows an average increase of 51 percent based on the year 1995; therefore, the amount of rice produced at 524 million tons annually to serve current consumers has to be increased to 700 million tons by 2025.

The task of increasing the rice supply is facing difficulties due to climate change and the lack of new generation farmers. While the number of consumers in each mega city is growing, the number of producers is diminishing dramatically.

Dr. Sujin
Realizing the problems, Thailand's Rice Department, in cooperation with Naresuan University (NU), is trying to replace human labor by utilizing agricultural machinery to produce enough supply for national consumption and for export.

NU has conducted several research studies to increase yield and reduce the cost of rice production whereas the Rice Department is transferring its knowledge to farmers nationwide through 27 rice research centers and 23 rice seed centers.

However, Thailand and other ASEAN countries also lack high-tech innovation in agricultural machinery. Hence, the two organizations agreed to host an international conference on Agricultural Machinery in Rice production: A Challenge for ASEAN from 26-28 November 2012 at the Empress Convention Centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where rice production issues such as sustainability, mechanization, and competitiveness will be widely discussed.

The conference includes country reports on the present status of agricultural machinery for rice production from member countries of AEC plus Japan, Korea, and China.

Professor Dr. Sujin Jinahyon, president of NU, says it is time for ASEAN to cooperate in rice production to cope with the world's increasing demand. Major rice-exporting countries must begin the mechanization era and the conference offers a big leap
forward to bring in this agricultural technology.

Distinguished guest speakers include Mr. Hiroyuki Konuma of the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO), Mr. Payungsak Chartsutipol, Chairman of The Federation of Thai Industries and many more. (PRNewswire/AsiaNet)

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