Food security

In the face of climate change-induced water shortage in Asia’s rice production areas, farmers are struggling to figure out how to grow more rice with less water to ensure food security in the region. Rice, the staple food crop for half of the world’s population, is grown on about 160 million hectares around the world, with 90% of the grains being grown and consumed in Asia.

Using conventional rice production (puddled transplanted), 2,500 liters of water is needed to produce a kilogram of rice, on average – 2–3 times more water than the amount needed to grow other cereals. Nearly half of diverted fresh water in the region is used to irrigate rice fields. However, between 1950 and 2005, available water per capita in Asia has decreased by between 37% and 76%, depending on location. Climate change, booming industrial activity, and expanding residential areas to house the increasing population all make the situation more acute. —