Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rice stakeholders highlight importance of creating value-adding activities for rice

In Asia, achieving food security remains an important issue, as the consumption of rice appears to be decreasing in some rice-growing countries, and farmers face increasingly challenging conditions. As rice is a political crop so culturally intertwined with life in Asia, the need for marketing it innovatively through value-adding activities is more relevant than ever.

The International Seminar on Promoting Rice Farmers’ Market through Value-Adding Activities held on June 5–9 at the Kasetsart University gathered rice experts from 11 countries to share  experiences in rice value addition during production, processing, and marketing.

Participants came from universities, financing institutions, governments, international organizations, and the private sector. Speakers from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam highlighted rice market-related issues, policy gaps, and opportunities that will enable knowledge-sharing and solutions creation intended to ultimately benefit smallholder farmers.

In the event, three papers were presented by IRRI scientists to articulate issues and trends in rice research initiatives for creating value for rice. Aldas Janaiah, a socioeconomics expert based in India, talked about the “Performance of rice industry in India: Potential opportunities and challenges”; Rosa Paula Cuevas, a grain quality specialist, presented about “Consumer valuation of cultural heritage: estimating the value of Cordilleran heirloom rice through gastronomic systems research approach”; while Reianne Quilloy, a communication and outreach specialist, presented the paper “Learning Alliance: Opportunities to align varied stakeholders for enabling technology adoption.”

The international seminar was organized by the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center, an organization that facilitates knowledge exchange among research centers in the Asian region to learn from each other and to craft actionable solutions that will benefit the smallholder farmers in their localities.

“Through our technology transfer mechanism which involves the identification of current problems in agriculture, collection, sharing, and exchange of information, we hope this kind of event will help transfer the relevant and useful experience to the rest of the agricultural community in the region,” said FFTC Director, Kuo-Ching Lin in his opening remarks.

The event was organized by Kasetsart University, Thailand’s first and premier agricultural university in the country. “The diversity of the participants, representing a wide scope of stakeholders in the rice industry reflects the importance of the issues to be addressed,” said the Chongrak Wachrinrat, Acting President of Kasetsart University.

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