Transforming the Global Rice Sector requires Supply Chain Management and Sector Governance
Since the launch of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) in 2011, Aidenvironment has provided SRP with strategic and technical guidance. Last year, version 1.0 of the SRP Standard and Performance Indicators for Sustainable Rice Cultivation were successfully launched. Aidenvironment contributed extensively to these tools through design, content and management of stakeholder consultation.
A number of field-level pilots of the Standard and Performance Indicators are currently being conducted – including several led by Mars Foods, owner of the Uncle Ben’s rice brand. In 2015 Mars committed to 100% sustainable sourcing of its rice by 2020, using the SRP standard. Together with UTZ, Aidenvironment is advising SRP in designing and implementing a program for assurance, traceability and labelling. By 2017, a full-fledged supply chain program will be available for adoption by rice buying companies.
SRP recognizes that transformation of the rice sector cannot be accomplished through a ‘classical’ certification approach driven by Western demand. At present less than 1% of global rice production is consumed by Western markets – 90% is consumed in the country of origin.
To reach the world’s 160 million rice farmers, governments in producing countries as well as domestic companies have an important and collective role to play.
SRP membership is therefore open to governments, rice producers, farmer organizations as well as NGOs, researchers and the multilateral organizations. SRP offers broad support to its members. For example, the Thai Rice Department is considering the incorporation of key elements of the SRP Standard in Thailand’s “Thai Rice GAP PLUS Standard”. In Cambodia, SRP supports a partnership of the Department of Rice Crop, Oxfam, IFC and several companies and local NGOs to promote sustainable practices at several locations linking them to global markets. SRP and its members are also supporting activities in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Vietnam.
Aidenvironment continues to actively support SRP in developing an appropriate – and viable – business model and in professionalizing its governance structure and fundraising approach.