Westerners have been trying to fix the world’s rice shortage for years, and they’ve been doing so largely without any luck.
The US and Britain have made significant efforts to improve the availability of the staple grain, but the results have been mixed.
A recent report found that US farmers were producing between half and three-quarters of the world supply, but they’ve done little to make rice more affordable.
For example, the USDA has been raising the price of rice by about 40 percent since the early 2000s, but US farmers have been largely left out of the action.
A new report by the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems finds that US producers are responsible for half of all world grain production and only 20 percent of all global grain supply.
To be fair, US farmers are not the only ones to be struggling.
China is the world leader in rice cultivation, and its rice supply is the third largest.
The problem is that China’s farmers have not been able to get a foothold in the US, so they’ve lost out on the world market for rice.
So what can be done?
“It’s very important that the United States and the United Kingdom continue to make efforts to bring production to a sustainable level and increase the supply of the crop,” says Mark Ritchie, a senior scientist with the Institute for Sustainability at the University, who led the new report.
“I think the key is that they need to work more closely with the international rice production community to get them moving in the right direction.”
The United States has already taken steps to address the issue of rice shortages, including increased rice exports.
Last year, the US imported about 10.5 million tons of rice, the largest amount in history.
But China has made strides in increasing rice production, and has become a major rice exporter, producing more than 50 million tons in 2017.
And as China’s rice farmers try to regain their footing, they’ll need more supplies from the US.