The Sustainability of Rice Farming
Rice has supported a greater number of people for a longer period of time than any other crop. Nearly half of the global population is dependent on rice as its major staple food. While Asia remains the main center of production and consumption of rice, the importance of rice is increasing rapidly in Africa and Latin America, and exports of rice from the United States and Australia are of major importance to the world rice trade.
This book explores the factors which have contributed to the sustainability of rice production over the 8 or 9,000 years for which rice has been produced. Sustainability is defined as the maintenance or improvement of production levels and protection of natural resources, within the context of economic viability and social acceptability. The author covers a wide range of issues, including soil fertility, plant breeding, pest management, irrigation, land degradation and social and economic factors. Greatest emphasis is placed on the special features of wetland rice production, and the importance of the nutrient balance.
It is also shown that without the Green Revolution there would have been a period of mass starvation in Asia, a problem which continues to threaten and which will be unavoidable unless the successes of the Green Revolution can be sustained. The book provides a unique review of the sustainability of the production of the world’s most important crop, and should be of interest to students, research workers and policy makers in agriculture, soil science, and agricultural economics and food policies, as well as all interested in development in the third world.