Rice presents a unique challenge for any quality control system because it is mostly grown by hundreds of thousands of poor farmers who have only very small farms of less than 1 hectare each. Moreover, 90% of rice is grown in developing countries in Asia, where access to knowledge and support is limited.
"Our formula for success lies in our track record of working with rice farmers and others in rice research and development across the private and public sector at the international, national, and local level in major rice-producing countries," Dr. Bouman said. "To create an impact in rice, we need to move forward in two directions: public policy development and voluntary market transformation initiatives."
National government agricultural departments could explore and test management practices to make them nationally relevant and to promote them to rice farmers. Non-government organizations could help develop the sustainability criteria to safeguard or improve environmental health. Rice farmer, production, processing, or trade organizations and businesses could use the Sustainable Rice Platform to secure a premium rice market or higher prices.
Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer Ms. Diane Holdorf said, "Rice is an extremely important food crop, for Kellogg Company and the world. As a major user of rice, we support UNEP in the mass adoption of more sustainable rice-growing practices to help improve the world's food supply and the lives of the farmers and the communities producing it.
"In addition to financial support," she added, "we are fast-tracking sustainable techniques into our contract growing programs. We'll share the results with the Sustainable Rice Platform and use them to inform our global rice policies and direction."
|Contact: Bianca Ferrer|
International Rice Research Institute