The Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) project implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, shared its approach to Sustainable Rice Production in Southeast Asia through the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standard during the 2017 Sustainable Rice Conference and Exhibition held at the United Nations Convention Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok. Also during the event, the project was given the honour of taking part in the hand-over of kits to 480 farmers to provide safety in the use of plant protection products.
Ms. Natenapis Sookbang, head of BASF’s Crop Protection business in Thailand commented: “The growing world population means that not only will farmers need to grow more food, but that the food must be clean, safe and nutritious to meet rising demands. At the same time, farmers must take care of their own safety, and the health of the land that they cultivate. This event was a great opportunity for us to provide the BASF Professional Farmer’s Kit to the Rice Department (RD). This consists of a pair of nitrile gloves, three particulate filter masks, a set of protective eyewear and an easy-to-understand, picture-based instruction leaflet. Each item in the kit complies with US or EU certification standards. The RD gave these to 480 farmers to ensure their safety in using plant protection products that comply with the requirements of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standard.
Ms. Ladda Viriyangkul, Expert in Rice Inspection and Certification, Rice Department, added: “The Rice Department (RD) aims to improve rice production and productivity in a safe and sustainable manner and enhance the value of rice products to meet consumer standards and market demands, based on research and development. The UN conference and exhibition was a platform for us to show our potential and announce our commitment to the sustainable development of the rice sector. The RD will continue to promote good agricultural practices to smallholder farmers. In addition, we are ready to serve as the representatives in providing Professional Farmer’s Kits to 480 farmers. We are confident that the farmers will be more secure in their work, and become healthy. These are important factors leading to the development of farmers’ potential.”
“In Thailand, BRIA has piloted the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standard in Ubon Ratchathani with the cooperation of the Rice Department. It focuses on assessing the application of standards and training of farmers. The SRP standard helps farmers to improve their rice cultivation through the effective, sustainable and environment-friendly use of agricultural resources. BRIA is working with public and private partners to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers to boost rice production. We want farmers to have a stable future and a good quality of life while contributing to regional food security,” said Mr.Suriyan Vichitlekarn, BRIA Regional Director.
BRIA has been implemented by GIZ in collaboration with partners in the public and private sectors from 2013-2017. The project aims to promote sustainable rice production, strengthen value chains, raise incomes of rice farmers, develop capacity, and contribute to improved nutrition. Participating rice farmers are expected to apply sustainable farming practices to increase yields, quality and incomes. Rice farmers should also be better linked to local markets, and stable business relations with rice millers must be established. BRIA partners include BASF, Bayer CropScience, Royal DSM, Yara, Olam, Deutsche Bank, and national agencies such as the Thai Rice Department, the Philippines Department of Agriculture, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture, and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) is a multi-stakeholder platform established in December 2011. The SRP is co-convened by UN Environment and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector.
The SRP Standard is the world’s first sustainability standard for rice. This standard applies to rice production including post-harvest processes. Individual farmers, smallholder groups, or larger farms can apply the SRP Standard. Following its launch, SRP members in several countries have implemented the SRP Standard on a pilot scale and on different farm types. As a member, BRIA has supported the development and adoption of the SRP Standard in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, the four BRIA pilot countries, using the public-private-partnership (PPP) approach.
The SRP Standard serves as an on-farm tool and provides a sustainable framework and a foundation to build business linkages among value chain actors. The market plays a key role, thus relationships between producers and buyers have to be established and aligned to drive the creation of sustainable value chains in both domestic and export markets.