Regional Rice Initiative


Regional Rice Initiative - Phase 2

Background

Asia is home to rice. People depend upon rice economically, socially and environmentally. Without rice, no sustainable development can be achieved in Asia. The Asia’s rice production share currently accounts for 90% of the world total. Rice is the commodity which is important for food security and the livelihoods of the Asian people. Thus, rice plays an important role in global food security as well.

The 2008 rice price crisis induced governments across the world to intensify production. Policy makers are searching for sustainable ways of rice farming and associated policies and strategies for sustainable intensification. The FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) held in Hanoi in March 2012 requested FAO to i) strengthen the capacities of the Member Countries on rice and ii) develop a regional rice strategy to harmonize diverse rice-related issues. FAO - since February 2013 - has supported the Regional Rice Initiativeand assisted three pilot countries – Indonesia, Lao PDR and the Philippines – by i) focusing on goods and services produced by and available from rice ecosystems and landscapes, and ii) identifying and undertaking sustainable rice production practices to enhance resilience and increase efficiencies in rice production to improve food security. This Regional Initiative is aligned with FAO’s Strategic Objective “Make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable” and its sustainable crop intensification policy, promoted under the banner of “Save and Grow”.


Problem

The rice economy of Asia has been going through important structural changes for some years now. Yield growth has declined considerably from the peak of 3.3% per annum during 1976-85 to 0.7% during 1998-2007 due to various reasons. These include falling investment on agricultural research, irrigation, and capacity building for improving management skills of rice farmers; decreasing land and water resources; and changing climatic conditions. At the same time, agriculture including rice farming is being blamed for natural resource degradation and destruction including deforestation. Other concerns expressed or issues raised in Asia include labour shortages and ‘feminization’ in the rice sector, ageing rice farmers in several countries, the importance of attracting young farmers to the rice sector, vanishing rice cultures and heritages, and lastly, the importance of enhancing the contribution of rice to poverty reduction and food and nutrition security. Rice farmers in Asia need to become more efficient in the use of inputs for rice production and the case for farmers to become better crop managers is as strong as ever.


Outcome

More efficient management of rice-based farming systems. Improved food and nutrition security through effective provision and utilization of ecosystem services and goods derived from rice-based farming systems and landscapes; and poverty reduction through increased productivity and income generating opportunities, and improved access to market in the rice sector.






Planned Activities

Farmer education through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) on innovative and sustainable practices focusing on rice ecosystems, landscapes and value chain (including as appropriate - Integrated Pest Management [IPM], rice-fish, rice-livestock and rice-legume systems, Save and Grow for SRI, Trees Outside Forests [TOF], GIAHS, MASSCOTE, post-harvest, climate-smart agriculture); development of a knowledge base (i.e. baselines, evidences and indicator data) built on resource use/production efficiency, sustainability of rice ecosystems, improved livelihoods of rice-based communities, food and nutrition security; formulation and implementation of national rice policies, strategies or programmes supported as a follow up to the Asia-Pacific Regional Rice Strategy, and contributions to related policy processes at regional and global levels (e.g. CBD, RAMSAR, the programme of work of the Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission [APPPC]).


Implementation Period
1 August 2014 - 31 December 2015

Total financial size
USD 546,000

Additional Resources:
More detailed information about the Regional Rice Initiative - Phase 2 and resource materials developed are available on: http://www.fao.org/bodies/council/cl149/side-events/regional-rice-initiative/en/
A link to the RRI brochure “Efficient Management of rice-based Farming Systems in Asia”:
http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/bodies/CL_149/SideEvents_CL149/Component_3_Efficient_Management.pdf