Call For Proposal 2012 - Agropolis Foundation

Posted by Jamal Fida Monday, March 5, 2012 0 comments
Agropolis Fondation1 and Fondazione Cariplo2 signed on 16 September 2011 a Partnership Agreement which aims to promote joint action involving scientists and researchers from France, Italy as well as Southern and Mediterranean countries in a joint effort to contribute to knowledge sharing and scientific capacity building. For their initial collaboration, the two foundations decided to focus on rice given its centrality in both the economy and nutrition in most of the developing world where the availability of this staple crop is often equated with food security.
The first collaboration of its kind between the Milan-based Fondazione Cariplo and the Montpellier-based Agropolis Fondation, the FIRST Initiative (short for French-Italian Rice Science and Technology) is aimed at developing and supporting scientific research in the agri-food sector as well as in facilitating the emergence of excellent, innovative and potentially high-impact research on rice.
More than 3.5 billion people worldwide depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories. An excellent source of complex carbohydrates, it is also rich in nutrients and contains a number of vitamins and minerals. A lot of these nutrients, however, are lost during milling and polishing. More than a billion people depend on rice cultivation for their livelihoods. About 90% of rice is grown in Asia’s 200 million rice farms, most of which are smaller than 1 hectare. Rice-growing is the main economic activity of millions of rural poor in this region. Rice is the fastest growing staple in Africa with this region contributing to about 3.4% of the world’s production as is the case in South America.
Although not a major food crop in the region, rice consumption is slowly but steadily increasing in Europe. Not only the cost of rice production remains relatively high in this part of the world, there are also a number of constraints associated in producing it, e.g., low temperature, water scarcity and biotic stresses. These are similar to the limitations facing the rice producing countries in Asia and other parts of the world.
Estimates made by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reveal that an additional 8-10 million tons of rice need to be produced annually to keep its prices stable and affordable at around US$ 300 per ton. One of the main challenges is therefore to ensure rice supply by boosting its production with less land, water, labor and other inputs, in more efficient, environmentally-friendly production systems.

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