As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across almost 200 countries and territories around the world, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) remains ready to help partners and governments keep rice production and distribution a key priority for people who depend on it for sustenance and livelihood.
Rice is the primary staple for more than half of the global population and the majority of the world’s poor. Extended disruptions of rice supply and the rice value chain, especially in many Asian countries, will have a significant economic impact not just for hundreds of millions of farmers, but will also contribute to food and nutrition insecurity for billions of people.
“While strict measures to contain the spread of the virus are absolutely essential, we must not lose sight of the fact that mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that farmers can sell their crops and consumers have access to affordable, nutritious food,” said IRRI Director General Matthew Morell.
Even amid the outbreak, IRRI continues to communicate and work with governments and partners in the countries and regions where it operates, lending its expertise and research to addressing context-specific challenges for the current situation. “Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, the institute remains focused on its mission to uplift everyone who depends on rice agri-food systems,” said Dr. Morell.
IRRI is continuing its analysis of the situation and is working closely with key governments and stakeholders to understand the key issues. We are conscious that while there is a desire for instant answers, there is also a need for rigorous and robust analysis. Starting next week, IRRI will be communicating on key developments, issues, and scenarios for the future of the sector.