A tale of two countries spatial and temporal patterns of rice productivity in China and Brazil

A tale of two countries spatial and temporal patterns of rice productivity in China and Brazil

What are the spatio-temporal variations of rice yields in China and Brazil?

Increasing population growth and scarcity of land suitable for rice production suggest that China and Brazil need to further increase rice productivity if they hope to continue meeting the increasing demand for food. This paper examines differences in the spatial and temporal variations of rice yields in both China and Brazil. By enhancing understanding of the spatio-temporal evolution of rice yield, the author aims to contribute towards the search for new sources of productivity growth.

The analysis indicates that, in China, rice yields have converged over time and rice production has become increasingly homogeneous. In contrast, rice yields in Brazil have diverged over time, primarily due to variations in upland rice yields.   

The author asserts that three hypothetical explanations may account for the different behaviours of rice yields in Brazil and China:
  1. differences in production systems (i.e. irrigated in China vs. upland in Brazil)
  2. changes in rainfall patterns
  3. bias in agricultural research and development towards irrigated rice.

    The paper's empirical analysis supports the first two hypotheses by establishing that upland rice shows much more variation in yields compared to irrigated rice and changing rainfall patterns have primarily affected upland rice. The paper also provides evidence of the bias towards irrigated systems by looking at the patterns of varietal release.


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