Sustainable Rice Platform
More than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for their staple; for hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries, rice is their livelihood and sustenance, and trends show that rice consumption will only increase. At the same time, however, rice production uses more than 30% of the world’s irrigation water and is responsible for 5 – 10% of global methane emissions (IRRI).
Less than 10% of the world’s rice production is shipped internationally, environmental pressures risk reduced availability, increased inflation, and political restrictions. Olam, as the world’s second-largest rice supplier based on shipped volumes, recognised that the current rice production was unsustainable in many locations. To counter this risk, Olam partnered with UNEP, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), GIZ, Mars, and others to establish the first international scientifically-verifiable rice standard; the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP). Olam continues to sit on the Advisory Committee of the SRP, guiding the standard to reduce the environmental footprint of rice and reduce farmers’ costs, thereby, increasing incomes for smallholder farmers. SRP released the first version of the Standard in 2015. It is now focused on trial projects to verify the Standard.
To ensure that SRP relates to farmers lives, Olam has partnered with GIZ and the Thai Rice Department to roll out a trial project in Ubon Ratchathani. The project will focus on growing rice under the SRP guidelines in order to reduce water, GHG, and input costs and improve farmers’ incomes in the region. Olam with the SRP, GIZ, and the Thai Rice Department will seek to verify the Standard is scientifically credible on the ground while working with farmers to improve it, so that the Standard meets its dual aim of reducing the environmental and monetary costs of producing rice. The project is expected to reach 17,500 farms and sustainably produce 100,000 mt of rice per year within 5 years.
You can read more about the Standard here.