IRRI, UNEP launch new rice management standards

October 28, 2015 5:37 am 

CALAMBA CITY, Oct. 27 — The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), launched on Tuesday the world's first standard for sustainable rice and more efficient standards for rice cultivation during the 5th Annual Plenary Meeting and General Assembly of Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) at the Crimson Hotel, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

The SRP is a global alliance of agricultural research institutions, agri- food business, public sector and civil society organizations .

IRRI reported that the development of the standard was led by SRP members, UTZ Certified, Aidenvironment and IRRI, and draws on global experience in other sustainable commodity initiatives such as sugarcane, cotton, coffee, and palm oil.

The program is made up of 46 requirements ranging from productivity, food safety, worker health , labor rights and bioderversity. It is supplemented by a set of quantitative performance indicators to enable farmers and market supply chain actors to gauge sustainability of a rice system, and to monitor and reward progress.

Since rice plays a critical role in global food security and provides livelihoods for over 140 million smallholders in developing countries, its cultivation uses 30-40 percent of the world’s freshwater and contributes 5-10 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Inefficient use of farm inputs such as agrochemicals presents additional challenges to long-term sustainability.

“For most of Asia Pacific, rice is a staple. It is part of the social fabric and influences many aspects of our lives – economic, social and religious. The SRP Standard and Indicators will help ensure that the cultivation of this vital commodity becomes more sustainable and benefits people, communities and the planet,” said Kaveh Zahedi, UNEP Regional Representative and Regional Director of the UNEP Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific.

Robert Zeigler, Director General of IRRI added:,“The SRP Standard represents the world’s first initiative that will set environmentally sustainable and socially responsible rice production management standards. Our key challenge now is to incentivize and scale up adoption, especially among resource-poor small farmers.”

Accordingly, the SRP Standard and Indicators will be field-tested and validated by national government agencies, research institutes and private companies in a multi-location farm trial to be coordinated by the SRP and IRRI.

Ultimately, the Standard and Indicators are both intended as a basis for certification of value-added rice products and also as a benchmark for policymakers.(PNA)



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