Driving consumer awareness of rice sustainability

“Make sure you finish every grain of rice on your plate” - for many households, these are familiar words uttered, and one that is closest to discussing responsible food consumption and production.

For half the planet, rice is a daily fixture - a bowl on the table that has become ingrained in the day to day life. In the rice industry, however, culture, environment, market and many other external factors are intertwined, forming a complex web of sustainability issues behind this seemingly simple staple. Central to this topic are smallholder farmers who are especially vulnerable due to the rising effects of climate change. Perhaps just as dangerous as this reality is the lack of awareness among mass consumers towards the precariousness of our rice bowls.

Over the past decade, global attention towards the adverse environmental impact of meat production has led to massive shifts towards plant-based diets. Beef production, in particular, appears to have attained layman-level understanding of being highly damaging in regards to contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions. Yet it is probable that a significant number of us would be surprised, even horrified, to know that in the agricultural space, rice farming potentially produces greenhouse gas emissions on par with estimated 600 coal plants, according to a study released by the Environmental Defense Fund.

As a member of the Sustainable Rice Platform, Golden Sunland is dedicated in guiding farmer partners on sustainable farming methods. In tandem with this commitment is educating consumers on the value and need for sustainable rice production in the first place, and how consumers can actually contribute to this systemic transformation.

In Singapore where Golden Sunland is incorporated, rice forms a predominant part of people’s diets - be it local favourites like hainanese chicken rice or nasi briyani. In light of increasing calls towards enhancing the food security of this tiny nation, understanding the source and challenges behind each grain of rice should become at the forefront of national conversations. In a country where so much social cohesion is formed and strengthened over meals, rice is very much an integral aspect of our culture - to protect this humble grain is to preserve the bonds uniting family and friends.

In addressing the future of rice, engagement of stakeholders across the value chain, and very crucially the very end consumers themselves can indeed promote rice sector transformation. Golden Sunland is honoured to be part of the SRP alliance pursuing multi-stakeholder support, and further driving industry change alongside individuals and organizations believing in this transformational agenda as much as we do.

Contact: Phoebe Swinn, MarComm Officer, Golden Sunland Email: phoebeswinn@gmail.com