Sustainable Agriculture News

IRRI and FAO Step Up Joint to Support Sustainable Rice Production

To cooperate more closely to support sustainable rice production in developing countries to improve food security and livelihoods while safeguarding natural resources, FAO and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have agreed.

An agreement signed seeks to better pool the scientific knowledge and technical know-how of the two organizations so that they can expand and intensify their work globally.

The primarily aims of the partnership is to enhance sustainable rice-based farming systems through capacity building activities including assisting governments draw up and implement national and regional policies and strategies to the benefit of small-scale farmers, especially women.

IRRI Director-General Matthew K. Morell said, "The world faces very significant changes over the next few decades to produce the volume and quality of nutritious food to feed a global population heading for 10 billion people. Addressing these issues relies on global partnerships, and today, IRRI is delighted to be reaffirming through this Memorandum of Agreement our commitment to work with FAO to enhance sustainable rice-based production and food systems through awareness raising, capacity development, knowledge exchange, and evidence-based analyses for policy support."

FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo said, "with over three billion people across the globe eating rice every day, rice is critical to global food security. Ensuring sustainable rice production is a key contribution to the global goal of ending hunger. By teaming up with IRRI, already a long-standing partner, we will be able to scale up, complement and amplify our work towards reaching this goal."

Rice is a staple crop for food security and consumption trends are growing, in many countries around the world. At the same time rice production is vulnerable to the increasing impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.

Throughout the value chain - production, marketing and consumption, both FAO and IRRI are actively promoting more sustainable rice practices to optimize its nutritional properties and as a means of improving livelihoods and tackling poverty, particularly in rural areas.

FAO has developed the Regional Rice Initiative for Asia and Pacific which promotes enhanced crop resilience while increasing efficiency and farmers' income. Including the sharing of technologies and best practices, in Africa and in Latin America the UN agency is engaged in scientific and technical cooperation, to increase production and productivity, including reduction of post-harvest losses and improved grain quality.

IRRI is engaged in strengthening capacities of all rice sector actors through its capacity development activities, including IRRI Education and the Sustainable Rice Platform.

The Sustainable Rice Platform is a global alliance to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector.

The world's first standard for sustainable rice, the Sustainable Rice Platform recently established. Through the Sustainable Rice Platform, IRRI aims to use environmental and socio-economic benchmarks to maintain yields for rice smallholders, reduce the environmental footprint of rice cultivation and meet consumer needs for food safety and quality.

To adopt improved and adapted rice varieties, enhance availability of certified seeds and also the transfer of knowledge - including on pest management - through participatory approaches such as farmer fields schools, FAO and IRRI will together assist rice producing countries.

to ensure that women farmers can participate in viable, safe and dignified entrepreneurial opportunities in the rice value chain, and that there is an improvement in work conditions in the rice sector, FAO and IRRI will work together.