Rikolto Rice Cluster Meeting and Visits – 2018 October

Rikolto Rice Cluster Meeting and Visits – 2018 October

in News

Rikolto Rice Cluster works within rice value chains in 9 countries: Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Vietnam. Rikolto's rice sector staff in these 9 countries meet within the "Rice Cluster" to encourage peer-to-peer learning and monitoring across regions, and to seek knowledge exchange between partners and other rice sectors.

Back in October 2018, our Rice Cluster has met together at 5th International Rice Congress in Singapore, as well as carried out field trips to Mekong delta, shared insights and ways to move forward within the rice strategic programme.

The 5th International Rice Congress in Singapore gathered nearly 1000 representatives from many countries worldwide. It highlighted the remarkable changes in structure, market, commerce, Industry 4.0, political relations, ecosystem, and climate change.

Industry 4.0 is a name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. The industry 4.0 is considered to be deeply impacting the agricultural domain. They imply a transformation of the production infrastructure: connected farms, new production equipment, connected tractors and machine. They will enable both an increased productivity and quality and environmental protection. But they also generate modifications in the value chain and business models with more emphasis on knowledge gathering, analysis and exchange.

Considering those transitions, the development of sustainable rice is inevitable and vital. It requires another look at the development from the perspective of food system, and a multidimensional approach. It doesn’t simply imply technological changes, but changes in social and structural aspects as well.

Minh Thi Thai Rikolto in Vietnam – Regional Director – Rice Programme Coordinator.

As part of Rikolto’s sharing within the conference, it is emphasized that rice value chains need to be more performant, based on inclusive business relationships between producer organizations, processors and traders. These are characterized by fairly distributed profits and risks, and lowered transaction costs. This sharing gained positive feedback and attention during the congress as the unique approach that also contributes to the sustainable value chain. Taking further from this, one of the strategic actions that Rikolto is doing is to invest more efforts in facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships, engaging public bodies with private actors such as large trading/ producing companies in the rice industry.

Within the October meeting period, the cluster also paid field visits to Mekong delta rice regions, met with An Giang Farmers Union together visiting the rice-fish farming model which tackles the intensive farming issue of 3 crops per year, discussed with Dong Thap Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for future outscaling of Sustainable Rice Platform Standards Production, and exploring potential collaboration opportunities with private companies such as FarGreen and VinaCam.

The agenda also pointed out key learnings to be dug deeper, including the involvement of young people and female farmers in rice industry, better quality rice, greenhouse gas emissions and straw management in farming techniques.

As a joint effort within members of Rikolto Rice Cluster, supported by Belgian Development Cooperation in 5-year Rice programme, there is hope that the practices of SRP rice farming towards the sustainable rice value chain can be reinforced and expanded to a broader scale.