Skip navigation
D. The Challenges Facing Asian Rice Farmers

Narrator: This is Science Today. A study by the International Rice Research Institute indicates that over the next thirty years, demand for rice in Asia is expected to jump to 70 percent. But are Asian rice farmers prepared to meet such a challenge? University of California, Davis rice production expert, Jim Hill, doesn't think so.

Hill: Most Asian rice farmers just don't have the wherewithal to buy fertilizers and in many cases, they don't have the knowledge to understand how to use them. I would have to say that countries like Cambodia are almost at what I would call rice production systems that they had a thousand years ago.

Narrator: Poor quality soils, flooding and droughts also hinder production.

Hill: I think all of the principles of working in flooded soils, which is the unique thing about rice as compared to any other crop, those principles are the same whether you're in a high technology industry like California and the developed world or whether you're in a very low tech rice growing area.

Narrator: Hill just completed a three-year study of Asian rice farming practices. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.