HO CHI MINH, Vietnam – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) will be assisting the Loc Troi Group, a leading provider of agricultural services and products in Vietnam, to ramp up its sustainable agricultural practices and tools in the country.
At a ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City on March 8th, Loc Troi became the first company in Vietnam to adopt the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) standards for growing rice.
“IRRI is very pleased to be working with the Loc Troi Group and the International Finance Corporation on this initiative to establish and operationalize the Sustainable Rice Platform standards and indicators,” said Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships. “This is an important step forward to enable farmers to gain improved incomes and welfare in rice farming, and also to assure consumers access to sustainably-sourced, high-quality food.”
The Sustainable Rice Platform is the first global sustainability standard for rice production. Developed with expert input from IRRI and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the SRP standards and corresponding indicators were formally launched in October 2015. IRRI, UNEP, and the members of the SRP ‘alliance’—involving 62 government agencies, private companies, NGOs, and research agencies together— aim for 1 million smallholder farmers to adopt and implement climate-smart and sustainable best practices by 2020 as a contribution to the UN SDGs.
As part of their contribution to this goal, Loc Troi will aim to meet the pre-set production indicators through a pilot project among smallholder farmers in the Mekong Delta, the country’s ‛rice bowl.’
IRRI will also provide technical assistance to Loc Troi including initial assessment of levels of farm input use and GHG emissions.
For the pilot project, Loc Troi will work with 150 farmers over three consecutive cropping seasons. IRRI Education, the research institute’s training arm, will develop a training program for Loc Troi extension staff to teach them about best practices in rice production, harvest, and postharvest. This will enable staff to scale out coverage of the project to the target 4,000 farmers by end of 2018.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing financial support to Loc Troi in this initiative.
"Farmers and extension workers expressed their interest in working with the SRP standards, however, they can anticipate the benefits in terms of increased yield while reducing expenses on inputs as well as improved personal protection during agrochemical handling," said Peter Sprang, IRRI technical coordinator for SRP.
A multi-country implementation of the SRP standards and performance indicators started in 2016, led by SRP members in Brazil, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam.