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Resource Efficient Rice in the Making

The Sustainable Rice Platform is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Aidenvironment. The Platform has embarked on the Herculean task of transforming the market to support the resource efficient intensification of irrigated rice.

 

The Sustainable Rice Platform was launched in response to the urgent need to sustainably intensify rice production to cater for growing demand at affordable consumer prices while meeting the challenges of the environment: to reduce the pressures on natural resources,lower greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change and associated drought, flooding, heat and salinity.

 

In 2010, a group of rice exporters, traders, processors, retailers, research institutes and the Thai government joined forces with the UNEP-led initiative to create a Public Private Partnership to instigate the transformation. Its main objectives are to develop an enhanced set of good agricultural practices. The aim is that these willl promote resource efficiency in tandem with social welfare, and define a clear set of targets specific to yield, quality, food safety, greenhouse gas emissions and water quality. Pilots will be developed in Asia to test these enhanced agricultural practices.

 

The principal challenge facing global rice production today is how to meet increased demand with dwindling resources. Yield growth has fallen and the area under rice in the major producing countries has diminished through the allocation of land to other uses. Competing water uses and climate change have increased water scarcity, and the little water there is in many rice-growing areas is polluted by the current inefficient use of fertilizers and pesticides. Fewer hands are available for farming as young people prefer to look for jobs outside the agricultural sector.

 

Aidenvironment’s role within the Sustainable Rice Platform is to build a stakeholder network in the private and non-profit sector, to facilitate overall planning and provide expertise on the governance aspects of multi-stakeholder initiatives.

 

For more information contact Lenneke Braam.