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2016 - Reaching One Million Farmers and More

Reaching one million farmers and more – Sustainable Rice Platform charts a sustainable future for rice

Singapore, 9 December 2016 – Over one hundred representatives of key rice industry players from 20 countries came together in Singapore to promote wide-scale adoption of climate-smart sustainable best practices in rice production. 

Each year, the Sustainable Rice Platform brings together its partners from governments, private sector value chain actors, research institutions, international organizations and civil society to discuss collaborative approaches and innovative solutions towards rice sustainability. The alliance aims to help improve the livelihoods of millions of rice farmers and ensure a healthier environment for all.

In his keynote address to the 6th SRP Annual Plenary and General Assembly, James Lomax from UN Environment- co-founder of the initiative, stressed the need for mechanisms to scale up climate-smart sustainable best practice to reach one million farmers and more, and encouraged stronger commitment from institutional members and partners.

Luc Beerens, Global Sustainability Director of Mars Food and a member of the SRP's Advisory Committee, expressed that, “Our primary aim is to drive impact, in efficient use of water and in improving the lives of rice farmers. What is most important is that we make a positive difference to people and [our] planet. Our programs in Pakistan and India demonstrate that we can.”

Luc Beerens, Global Sustainability Director of Mars Food

World’s first rice sustainability standard

Launched in 2015, the SRP Standard on Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world’s first sustainability standard for rice, which provides an overarching framework for climate-smart sustainable best practice in any rice-based system. The Standard is supplemented by a set of Performance Indicators, which serves as a quantitative tool to measure impacts of adoption of the Standard, and to reward progress.

Multi-country field implementation

Image courtesy of UN Environment Asia and the Pacific Office

This year, pilot field testing and benchmarking of the Standard was spearheaded by SRP members in Brazil, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, USA and Vietnam. These validation activities were implemented through collaborative efforts among public, private and NGO partners. Among the institutional members and partners of the Sustainable Rice Platform who piloted the Standard were Amru Rice, Battambang Rice Investment Co, Bayer Crop Science, Better Grain, Helvetas, Loc Troi Group, LT Foods, Mars Food, Natcap, GIZ-Better Rice Initiative Asia, Olam International, Sunstar, Syngenta, Thailand Rice Department, Rice Partners (Pvt) Ltd, UTZ and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The International Rice Research Institute is now compiling these data to prepare for a review and revision of the Standard to enhance its applicability and relevance to smallholder rice farmers.

Le Nguyet Minh from Oxfam International noted that in order to drive wide-scale adoption of resource-efficient, climate-friendly rice production, effective awareness-raising campaigns, training and responsible investments are needed that further the rights and reflect the needs and hopes of rice smallholders, especially women farmers.

Sustainable Rice Platform members can download all presentations from the Members’ Area. The Outcome Document will also be posted soon.