The grand challenge of sustainable agricultural production is as given in the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement: “Food production should not be compromised while working towards climate-change adaptation, mitigation of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and resilience.” This challenge presents tensions between its objectives due to agri-food systems’ complex nested and dynamic nature, inherent heterogeneity and multiple interacting dimensions and scales. A comprehensive integrative analysis of these complexities, interactions and interdependencies is necessary to attain sustainable systems. My thesis addresses this integration need by focusing on rice sustainability through a systems-thinking approach.
In each chapter of the thesis (chapters 2-6), an archetype analysis or scenario planning is conducted on a rice sub-system and implemented through different methods. The sub-systems addressed are the resilience of rice systems, rice agricultural development, GHG emissions mitigation and rice research pathways. By integrating the research findings from each chapter into a system map, the thesis proposes pathways to rice sustainability.