Press Releases

    11 February 2004

    International Conference on Rice to Be Held in Rome, 12 – 13 February

    (Reissued as received.)

    ROME, 10 February (FAO) -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will convene a two-day Rice Conference at its headquarters in Rome, Thursday and Friday, 12 to 13 February 2004.  The Conference will see leading global experts present their perspectives on latest trends and industry developments.  The Conference will work to mobilize the international community to confront the most pressing issues confronting the global rice sector, from local farming practices to international trade.

    The Conference is open to representatives of governments, non-governmental and private-sector research institutions, universities, the media and other interested parties.

    Rice in Global Markets and Sustainable Production Systems

    The International Year of Rice promotes improved production and access to this vital food crop, which feeds more than half the world’s population while providing income for millions of rice producers, processors and traders.  A sustainable increase in rice production will reduce hunger and poverty and contribute to environmental conservation for present and future generations for whom rice is life.

    Agenda as of 10 February 2004

    Thursday, 12 February

    For those without FAO press credentials, accreditation to cover the FAO Rice Conference will be arranged at the entrance to Building A between 0900hrs and 1000hrs on 12 February.  A valid press pass, or a letter of assignment from a recognized publication will be required.

    Rice in Global Markets

    Morning Session:  09:30 - 13:00

    -- Opening of the Conference -- David Harcharik, FAO Deputy Director-General

    -- Opening remarks -- Hartwig de Haen, Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Department, FAO

    -- Long-term prospects for the global rice economy -- Mahabub Hossain, Lead Economist, Social Sciences, IRRI, Philippines

    -- Rice market outlook -- Concepción Calpe, Commodities and Trade Division, FAO

    -- Status of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations:  a rice sector perspective -- Magdi Farahat, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, WTO; Eric Wailes, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Arkansas, USA

    Afternoon Session:  14:30 - 18:00

    -- Changing structure of the international rice market: emerging players, changes in the types of rice traded and in the nature of the transactions - David Dawe, Economist, (former food policy advisor to the Government of Indonesia), IRRI, Philippines; Bernard Valluis, President of GAFTA, Soufflet Negoce

    -- Value-added rice products: expanding markets and future opportunities - Ito Shoichi, Professor, International Food Economist, Tottori University, Japan

    -- Challenges and opportunities --

    Larry Wong, Senior Advisor to Group Managing Director, BERNAS, Malaysia

    Mulyo Sidik, Senior Expert Staff, BULOG, Indonesia

    Yu Xubo, Vice-president, COFCO

    Shailendra Nigam, Executive Director, Food Corporation of India

    V. K. Malhotra, IAS, Managing Director, Food Corporation of India

    Ernesto Morgado, President of the Federation of European Rice Millers, European Union

    Pramote Vanichamont, President of Thai Miller Association, Thailand

    Friday 13 February

    Sustainable Rice-Based Production Systems:  Challenges and Opportunities

    Morning Session:  09:00 – 12:30

    -- Opening remarks:  Louise Fresco, Assistant Director-General, Agriculture Department. FAO

    -- Keynote address:  Harnessing science and technology for sustainable rice-based production systems -- Gurdev Khush, Rice breeder, former Head of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biochemistry Department, IRRI

    -- Rice, nutrition and poverty alleviation -- Prabhu Pingali, Director, FAO Agriculture and Economic Development Analysis Division

    -- Biodiversity in rice-based production systems -- Peter Kenmore, Senior Officer, FAO Plant Protection Service; Matthias Halwart, Technical Officer, Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service

    -- Rice-based production systems and land and water conservation -- Daniel Renault, Senior Officer, FAO Water Resources, Development and Management Service

    -- Biotechnology and its implications for production and trade -- Ronnie Coffman, Professor and Chair, Department of Plant Breeding, and Director of International Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University

    -- New varieties and sustainable cropping systems to face food security, promising prospects for the global challenges of rice production the world will face in the coming years -- Nour Ahmadi, Head of the Rice Working Group, CIRAD

    -- Traditional rice-based livelihood systems and global indigenous agricultural heritage -- Parviz Koohafkan, Chief, FAO Land and Plant Nutrition Management Service

    Afternoon Session: 14:30 – 18:00

    -- Hybrid rice for food security and nutrition -- Yuan Longping, Hybrid rice specialist, Director-General, China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Centre, Hunan, China

    -- New challenges and technological opportunities for rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in Asia and the Pacific -- Ronald P. Cantrell and Gene P. Hettel, Director General and Head, Communication and Publications Services, IRRI

    -- Challenges and technical opportunities for rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa -- Toon Defoer, Technology Transfer Agronomist, WARDA, et al.

    -- Challenges and technological solution for rice-based systems in Latin America - CIAT/FLAR

    -- Rice-based production systems for food security and poverty alleviation in the Near-East and North Africa: New challenges and technological opportunities -- Badawi A. Tantawi, Vice-President of Agricultural Research Centre, Egypt); and

    -- Opportunities for the sustainable development of rice-based production systems in Europe -- A. Ferrero, Head of Department of Agronomy, Selviculture, and Terrain Management, University of Torino and N.V. Nguyen, Agricultural Officer, FAO Crop and Grassland Service Languages

    The Conference will be conducted simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.  For more information, contact:  John Riddle, Information Officer, FAO, e-mail:, tel.: (+39) 06 570 53259.

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