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How can Southeast Asia stay as a major rice exporter?

Southeast Asia is home to two of the world’s largest rice exporters, Thailand and Vietnam, making the region a major rice bowl.

A new study published in the international peer-reviewed journal Nature Food found that countries in Southeast Asia should close the existing rice yield gap substantially to reduce the need for rice imports, with at least 54 million tons of aggregated rice surplus available for exports.

The study, led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the USA and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), estimated the difference between yield potential and average farmer yield across the major rice-producing countries in Southeast Asia, namely: Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Researchers recommend that the region should implement a number of interventions such as improving crop management practices, enhancement of pest management, as well as mitigation of production risks in lowland rainfed environments.

Read more about the report here.

Citation: Yuan, S., Stuart, A.M., Laborte, A.G. et al. Southeast Asia must narrow down the yield gap to continue to be a major rice bowl. Nat Food 3, 217–226 (2022).