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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Asia is home to rice, and people in this region depend on rice economically, socially and environmentally. Without rice, sustainable development in Asia can hardly be achieved. Furthermore, rice plays an essential role in global food security.

This Regional Initiative focuses on improving the sustainability of rice production and resource use efficiency, and ultimately improving food and nutrition security, based on goods and services from rice ecosystems and landscapes.

Asia and the Pacific’s Regional Rice Initiative

Rice-based farming systems and rice economy have been experiencing significant structural changes and challenges, including the 2008 rice price crisis and environmental issues. These challenges have prompted governments across the world to come up with sustainable ways of rice farming as well as overarching rice policies and strategies.

At the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in March 2014, member countries endorsed the Regional Rice Initiative Phase II which aims to:

  1. support rice farmers and producers for applying innovative and sustainable rice farming practices through the effective provision and utilization of rice ecosystem services and goods;
  2. build a knowledge base and evidence for resource use and production efficiency to demonstrate the effectiveness of the sustainable rice ecosystem-based approach; and
  3. realize food-secure, better nourished and prosperous rice farmers and consumers in the Asia-Pacific region by contributing to policy processes, especially the formulation and implementation of national rice strategies or policies, building on the strategic options laid out by the Regional Rice Strategy for Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific.

To achieve the objectives, an array of options which are more productive, sustainable and efficient in resource use are available. These include: rice-fish, rice-livestock and rice vegetables systems, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Trees Outside Forests (TOF), Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), Mapping System and Services for Canal Operation Techniques (MASSCOTE), and the Analysis and Mapping of Impacts under Climate Change for Adaptation and Food Security (AMICAF). These applications are integrated in the overarching Save and Grow paradigm, i.e. producing more and better with fewer input, through Farmers Field Schools to realize sustainable intensification of rice production (SIRP).