Global warming takes its toll on rice production — Association chief


SIBU: Global warming has caused a deceleration in rice production in many regions in Asia.

RETARDATION IN GLOBAL RICE PRODUCTION: Yeo (centre) delivers his address at the SRWA annual general meeting.

This is the finding of a recent large scale study.

Chairman of Sibu Rice Wholesalers’ Association (SRWA) Yeo Keng Teck,

in stating this yesterday, said it was feared that the situation would deteriorate, thus aggravating poverty and starvation in Asia.

“According to an analysis done by American economists and scientists from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the Philippines International Rice Research Institute from 1994 to 1999, the main cause of retardation in rice production is the rise in temperature during the night,” he said.

He was speaking during the SRWA annual general meeting held at the local Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry premises here.

Yeo said the research was done in 227 swamp padi fields in six countries — China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

He said the report suggested that there would be an increase in rice production if the day time temperature increased, subjected to certain range of temperature change.

However, he said the effect in day time could probably be off-set if the night time temperature rose higher.

“In other words, with the rising of daily average temperature, night time would become warmer, thus resulting in the decline of rice production.

“The research also discovered that the many major rice production areas in Asia had encountered a drop of 10 to 20 per cent due to the rising temperature in the past 25 years.

“If the global warming situation worsens, rice production could decrease further.

“On the other hand, in October last year, there were a series of heavy downpour and floods that affected 24 provinces in Thailand. About 700,000 acres of agricultural land were affected, the majority of which were padi fields,” he said.

He asked rice wholesalers to have a better understanding of the international scenario pertaining to rice and padi, adding that this was imperative to do their business well.