Wednesday, February 6, 2019

IRRI, UN Environment engage private sector toward a low-carbon rice production

CAMBODIA—When talking of climate impacts on rice and mitigation measures, farmers, extension agents, and relevant government institutions usually come to mind. Now, the private sector is becoming more visible in the picture.

A workshop jointly organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the UN Environment Programme highlighted the importance of involving the private sector in efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rice production.

“The role of the private sector in promoting the practice of mitigation technologies is pivotal because they have distinct interests in ensuring that farmers implement certain practices. Also, they are actively working in almost all stages of the value chain and that cannot be overlooked,” says Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander, climate change scientist and IRRI Representative to Vietnam.

Globally, the agriculture sector contributes 13.5% of the anthropogenic GHG emissions; 11% of which comes from irrigated rice in the form of methane and nitrous oxide. The figures may seem small but not so if we are looking at rice-producing countries where rice production contributes significantly to total national GHG emissions.

“We aim to strengthen our links with the private sector to increase investments into low-emissions agriculture, and work with members of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) to identify business opportunities with mitigation (co-) benefits,” states Dr. Sander.

The workshop, which was held on 23 January was a side activity to the SRP Plenary Meeting and General Assembly. Thus, it was a fitting opportunity to touch base with SRP members and gauge their perceptions on varying concerns like the role of mitigation assessments and the labeling of carbon footprints on rice products and its implications on business cases.

Part of the discussion aimed to ascertain the felt needs of private sector actors, gaps they might face in implementing low carbon farming systems, and tools and interventions that might help them overcome those gaps.

These activities are being implemented in support of the broader goal of promoting global best practices and scaling of low-emissions technologies among private and public sectors that is being implemented by IRRI and UN Environment, with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Forward looking, this initiative aims to integrate low-carbon rice value chains into corporate strategies and include the private sector in Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) in rice in countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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