The World Bank has released an analysis showing that the economic growth rate of developing countries in the Asia-Pacific (EAP) region will slow down significantly from + 5.8% in 2019 to + 2.1 ~ 0.5% in 2020 due to the new coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19). While tourism related services are expected to be the most severely affected, agricultural output is also projected to fall by around 3%. In addition, due to the high percentage of farmers in many countries in the EAP region, there are serious concerns that the income and health of small-scale farmers who have difficulty accessing public social security will be significantly affected. The World Bank is calling for bold national action and the need for deeper international cooperation.
In Japan, rice improvement programs focus on developing varieties with good taste while well adapted to specific local climatic and weather conditions. Rice is also used as one of the staple crops Most of the poor regions of the world are concentrated in the tropics. On the other hand, the growing influence of global warming and increasing frequencies of extreme weather events in recent years have raised serious concerns of the deterioration of both rice quality and yield in the future. Aiming for stable rice production will greatly contribute to poverty alleviation and social stability in these regions, where Japan can play a strategic role to contribute to global food and nutrition security. JIRCAS is pursuing the conservation rice germplasms and breeding materials and development of a database, in order to contribute to the establishment of an international cooperation system for the conservation and use of rice genetic resources.