Climate Change, Rice and Asian Agriculture: 12 Things to Know

Feature | 24 July 2012

Rice consumption in Asia is declining rapidly as a consequence of the region's economic growth, rising disposable income and associated lifestyle changes. Nevertheless, rice remains Asia's most important crop, as it continues to be the single largest source of calories for the majority of consumers who are poor. Here are 12 things to know about rice.

  1. Global rice consumption is expected to rise from 441 million metric tons (mmt) in 2010 to about 450 mmt in 2020, before declining to just 360 mmt in 2050.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  2. The decline in global rice consumption will be driven mainly by the rapid income growth in Asia, accompanied by a massive shift of labor from rural to urban areas.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  3. Only population growth continues to drive rice consumption upward in Asia, and population growth is slowing in most of the region's countries.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  4. Rice remains the largest single source of calories for a significant majority of Asian consumers. In 2007, rice accounted for 29.3% of calories intake in Asia.
    Sources: Data from FAO Food Balance Sheets;The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  5. Around 90% of the world's rice is produced and consumed in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  6. In 1961, rice accounted for 6.8% of GDP in East Asia, 8.4% in South Asia, and 14.5% in Southeast Asia. In 2007, it was just 1.0% in East Asia, 2.7% in South Asia, and 3.8% in Southeast Asia.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  7. Asian consumers are now spending less than 5% of their food budgets on rice.
    Source: The Changing Role of Rice in Asia's Food Security
  8. The two main challenges to rice supply are the extreme price volatility due to policy shocks and the threats to production caused by climate change and low productivity.
    Source: Ensuring Food Security for a Growing Region
  9. The global rice export market is relatively concentrated, with Thailand, Viet Nam, India, US, and Pakistan providing nearly four-fifths of available supplies.
    Source: Causes of High Food Prices
  10. A 10% rise in food prices, including rice, could push almost 30 million more Indians and nearly 4 million more Bangladeshis into extreme poverty.
    Source: Targeted Food Subsidies Would Help South Asia Cope with Future Food Price Spikes (News Release)
  11. ADB helped with the development of rules and operating procedures for the emergency rice reserve set up as part of the Integrated Food Security program, an initiative supported through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.
    Source: Ensuring Food Security for a Growing Region
  12. Besides being gracious hosts to ADB, the Philippines is also home to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which maintains the International Rice Genebank, a collection of more than 113,000 types of rice.
    Source: International Rice Research Institute

* Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam