New consortium to reduce environmental footprint of rice production

It will introduce sustainable approaches to farming practices, incentivise greener production and deliver policy support to governments

A new global consortium aimed at helped reduce the enormous environmental footprint of rice production has been announced.

The Sustainable Rice Landscapes Initiative (SRLI) will introduce sustainable approaches to farming practices, incentivise production and demand for sustainable rice with market-based instruments, deliver policy support to governments and improve knowledge sharing and collaboration on sustainable rice solutions.

It will support the sustainable production of rice in Southeast Asia from 2020 to assist farmers and supply chains impacted by climate change in the region.

The SRLI’s actions will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement, restoring degraded land and conserving biodiversity.

The consortium includes UN Environment, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Sustainable Rice Platform, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Rice Research Institute and the German Agency for International Co-operation.

According to UN Environment, rice is a leading cause as well as a victim of climate change and its production impacts many natural systems.

Rice is responsible for around the same greenhouse gas emissions as Germany, particularly from methane, which is emitted from rotting vegetation, known as rice straw, in inundated paddy fields.

Methane emissions could be removed by up to 70% through the introduction of climate-smart agricultural practices such as removing the rice straw but farmers are said to currently lack awareness, training, policy and market support.

SRLI is developing a $50 million (£38m) proposal for a Global Impact Programme to be funded under the Global Environment Facility, targeting a number of Asian countries for national-level actions and market-based mechanisms along the supply chain.

Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director General for Asia and the Pacific: “By working in partnership to apply scientific advances and best practices in rice landscapes, the SRLI consortium is a unique vehicle to deliver global benefits for the climate, land and water resources and biodiversity, while also ensuring the food security needs of billions of people in Asia and around the world.”

Latest Podcast