How is climate change impacting rice production? How can we strengthen rice value chains, given urbanization and industrialization? How can innovative financing such as use of Pay-for-Results (PfR) incentives spur improved rice farming practices? These were the kinds of questions covered during the 5th International Rice Congress (IRC), which took place in Singapore from October 15 to 17. Organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the gathering brought together scientists, policymakers, and agricultural experts to share the latest innovations and key legislation around this staple crop.
As part of IRC, two experts from the AgResults Vietnam Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Challenge Project shared what the project has learned about using PfR incentives as a catalyst for reducing GHG produced by traditional rice farming through uptake of improved rice growing technologies. The project tests the assumption that AgResults can incentivize private sector enterprises, such as rice producers, fertilizer producers, and input suppliers, to test and scale improved rice growing technologies and practices that will increase yields and decrease GHG emissions.
On October 15, Dr. William Salas of Applied GeoSolutions explored the role that remote sensing and modeling technologies has played in gathering critical data that shows the efficacy of rice growing practices. Now in Phase 2, the project is further incentivizing the Vietnamese private sector to scale their rice growing technologies to at least 20,000 farmers, bringing up challenges and opportunities around scalable data collection and verification.
“We hope attendees come away with a better understanding of the verification technologies we are developing, which are scalable and can be the basis of creating value for smallholder rice farmers globally as they provide ecosystem services for the public,” said Dr. Salas.
In the second presentation on October 16, Dr. Tran Thu Ha of SNV Vietnam demonstrated how the Vietnam Challenge Project has incentivized competitors to test 11 different technology packages across Thai Binh province. Highlighting the various experiment designs covering the Summer 2017 and Spring 2018 seasons, Ms. Tran Thu Ha illustrated key features of the most effective technologies to both improve rice production and reduce GHG emissions, along with their potential for uptake by farmers in Phase 2 of the project.
“This project is highlighting new approaches for accelerating Vietnam-specific sustainable rice farming technologies, focusing on proactive roles of the private sector in delivering triple wins — economic, environmental, and social — that benefit smallholder rice farmers,” explained Dr. Tran.
Presenting at the IRC provided a valuable platform for AgResults to continue sharing not only the impact that PfR incentives and the private sector can have on improving rice production but also the importance in reducing GHG emissions around this staple crop.