Insect Threatens Asian Rice Crops

May 19, 2008 08:00 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
The brown plant hopper is wreaking havoc on East Asian rice crops, spotlighting the lack of funding for agricultural programs in developing countries.

30-Second Summary

A tiny insect called the brown plant hopper is damaging rice crops in East Asia, compounding an already dire global food crisis.

Experts say the problem could have been prevented if more funding for agricultural research had been provided in recent decades. Researchers claim they know how to make insect-resistant rice varieties, but agricultural budget cuts have forestalled the process.

Global shortages and high prices indicate the seriousness of the threat to the world’s food supply. The World Bank predicts that the crisis will not be temporary, prompting the recent emergence of innovative agricultural ideas.

For example, the potato is being pushed as a worthy replacement for rice and grain. The United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of the Potato to raise awareness of the vegetable.

Organizations, like The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and The International Rice Research Institute, are working for change, promoting sustainable growing techniques in poor countries, and lobbying for increased funding for research.

Headline Links: Insect damages Asian rice crops

Background Links: The global food crisis

Related Topic: Can rice recover?

Reference: Agricultural research groups


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