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Spatial database to improve rice production

The RiceAtlas is a spatial database that collects information on where, when and how much rice is grown globally

The database has been developed by a team of international researchers in collaboration with the ITC Faculty of the University of Twente.

The database, which has been made publicly available, consists of data on rice planting and harvesting dates by growing season and estimates of monthly production for all rice-producing countries. The database represents a long term global effort to collect, and continuously update, the most detailed information on rice calendars and production worldwide. This is an important dataset that is crucial for understanding the effects of policy, trade, and global and technological change on food security.

While several rice crop calendars exist, they do not adequately capture the spatial and temporal detail associated with rice production. With the help of collaborators from various countries, RiceAtlas aims to become the most comprehensive and detailed spatial database on global rice calendar and production.

Andy Nelson, professor of spatial agriculture and food security at ITC, University of Twente, "We developed RiceAtlas to support strategic planning and modelling which require information on the where and when of rice. Making it a global public good serves the research and policy community but also means that RiceAtlas can be regularly improved through expert knowledge and contributions."

Sander J Zwart, principal researcher at AfricaRice said, "Strategic knowledge on the when and where of rice production supports the debate on food security and the development and implementation of policies across Africa. Experts from national institutes were consulted to contribute information to RiceAtlas that was before available only in national data bases and not shared with the greater public. RiceAtlas was already deployed to spatially analyse the impact of climate change on rice production in the different growing seasons."