Sustainable rice platform in running for MacArthur Grant
A more sustainable way of growing rice piloted by farmers in Thailand is on the shortlist for a $100 million grant from the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation for improving the lives of half-a-million rice farmers on four continents.
The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) is a more environmentally friendly method of growing the grain that serves as the staple food of billions of people in Asia and beyond. The International Rice Research Institute and the United Nations Environment Program (UNDP) helped develop SRP in 2011.
Olam International, a Singapore-based agribusiness and a member of the platform, first tested SRP principles in partnership with the Thai Rice Department and German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The MacArthur Foundation has already designated SRP as one of the Top 100 in its 100&Change competition, in recognition of its “real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.”
The pilot began with 71 Thai farmers in 2016. Since then, the project has trained over 6,000 farmers in Thailand on climate-smart practices and has produced the world’s first fully verified sustainable rice.
“With the SRP Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation, we have a definition and proven model for sustainable rice,” said Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of Olam.
Today, over 500,000 rice farmers across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas are engaged in the SRP project. The United Nations Environment Program said those farmers had enjoyed an average 10 percent increase in income, 20 percent savings in water use, and 50 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The platform’s goal is to reach 1 million farmers by 2023.
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