More than half the world's population depends on rice as their primary staple food. But at the same time, the rice crop is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and consumes a large amount of the world’s freshwater for irrigation. Following post-harvest, rice straws are usually burned in paddy fields, which makes the air polluted and affects millions of people’s health.
To overcome the challenges of rice production, SRP was established in 2011 as a global multi-stakeholder alliance. SRP aims to transform the global rice production and supply chain to better meet the world's growing demand for rice. It seeks to reduce the environmental, social and climatic impacts of rice production while improving the livelihoods of smallholders in rice-producing countries.
Rice producers are just as at risk as the environment from climate change impacts. Climate change will aggregate a variety of stresses for rice crops, including droughts, floods, high temperatures and rising sea levels. Having said that, applying proven best cultivation practices can help improve farmers’ adaptive capacities in rice production.
“The global rice supply chain should be ready for the climate crisis. While rice is part of the problem in the past, it is now part of the solution. Preferred by Nature, therefore, works in the rice sector to improve livelihoods and food security for smallholder rice farmers and millers, as well as help reduce the climate impact of rice production globally,” said Trusti Y Widiastuti, Agriculture Regional Manager, Asia Pacific & Deputy Director, Agriculture at Preferred by Nature.
“We also need more expertise, more capable individuals to train farmers and to further scale capacity building on the ground,” she added.
In September 2020, Preferred by Nature became the first organisation in the world to be recognised as a verification body for farms under the SRP Standards and Assurance Schemes. The scheme is managed by GLOBALG.A.P. and is applicable to rice farms that wish to adopt sustainable farming practices and obtain the ‘SRP-Verified’ label for their rice products. The scheme helps increase the global supply of rice, improve the livelihoods of rice producers, and reduce the environmental impact of rice production. The first SRP Chain of Custody verification statement was released in April 2021, opening the door to collaborations with some SRP supply chain actors in Europe.
Another milestone has been achieved by the organisation in June 2022. Preferred by Nature is now officially recognised as an ‘SRP Authorized Training Provider’, making it eligible to offer SRP-approved training courses and issue official training certificates. The SRP training programme offers guidance, training and information to extension services, implementation partners and farmers to support the upscaling of sustainable practices.