SRP Rice Week 2021 closed on 2 April, wrapping up an exciting 5 days of interactive discussions among 180 participants and 71 speakers from 40 countries, representing members and the wider development community.
Following opening remarks by UNEP, Olam International, IRRI and FAO, two major strategic partnerships were announced, with FAO and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development both joining the Sustainable Rice Platform. These partnerships formalize several years of collaboration with both organizations across several fronts and open the door to multiple scaling opportunities.
High-level speakers including representatives of FAO, UNEP, the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, IRRI, and Olam, emphasized the critical role of rice in transforming our global food system, and in addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Following an overview of the latest developments in the SRP, the role of the BMZ-funded ‘Mainstreaming Support for the Sustainable Rice Platform’ project in supporting expansion of SRP’s Secretariat and programming was introduced, together with authorized SRP training provided by IRRI.
Speakers from Thailand's Rice Department, Africa Rice, FAO, UNEP and Helvetas also showcased a number of member-led initiatives harnessing innovation and technology convergence to drive change. A number of cutting-edge GIS-enabled digital solutions were also presented by IRRI and private sector partners, and a special panel discussion on water in rice landscapes was led by the Alliance for Water Stewardship
Day 3 began with a presentation of a study by IRRI reporting willingness to pay a premium for sustainable rice among urban consumers in Asia. GLOBALG.A.P. then introduced the SRP Assurance Scheme, with speakers from Rikolto, Preferred by Nature, Control Union and Rice Exchange offering important perspective on early implementation challenges. The business case for sustainable rice was further explored in a panel discussion led by Olam and Mars Food, with senior level speakers from LT Foods, Westmill Foods, Ahold Delhaize and IRRI.
A dedicated session with a keynote by Diane Holdorf of WBCSD also explored scaling opportunities via multilateral mechanisms such as GEF and via the World Bank, financing for sustainable rice (led by Clarmondial AG, with panelists from Rabobank, HBL Bank, Natcap, FAO and WBCSD), and gender and governance within SRP, the latter led by speakers from AWS, ISEAL, UN Women, Oxfam, Oxford University and the International Trade Centre.
A very special thanks to all participants for your active participation; we look forward to working with you in an exciting year ahead for SRP, our members and our partners across the stakeholder spectrum.