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IRRI and Taiwan ICDF Forge Alliance to Boost Rice Straw Circular Economies in SEA

IRRI and TaiwanICDF partner to enhance sustainable rice production in Southeast Asia through the Cabin project, aiming to boost productivity while reducing environmental impact.

Saurabh Shukla
IRRI and Taiwan ICDF Forge Alliance to Boost Rice Straw Circular Economies in SEA (Photo Source: Pexels)
IRRI and Taiwan ICDF Forge Alliance to Boost Rice Straw Circular Economies in SEA (Photo Source: Pexels)

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) have joined forces  to improve sustainable agriculture in Southeast Asia. The collaboration comes in the form of a cooperation agreement aimed at implementing the Capacity Building for Sustainable and Low-Carbon Rice Innovations in Southeast Asia (Cabin) project.

The Cabin project, slated to run from 2024 to 2028, seeks to address critical knowledge gaps in sustainable and low-carbon rice production. A focal point of the initiative is the adoption of sustainable rice straw innovations, with the overarching goal of boosting productivity and income while simultaneously mitigating environmental degradation.

The increase of rice cropping systems has unintentionally led to the generation of larger volumes of rice straw in fields across the region. Regrettably, farmers often resort to burning these by-products, viewing them as burdensome wastes. However, this practice not only damages soil health but also exacerbates greenhouse gas emissions, thereby compromising air quality.

To counteract this trend, the Cabin project will champion sustainable agriculture and advocate for the transition to a circular economy model in five key countries: Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos. By empowering stakeholders and promoting sustainable rice straw management practices, the initiative aims to helps farmers to boost their livelihoods while reducing their carbon footprints.

Dr. Nguyen Van Hung, the Project Leader for Cabin, highlighted the pressing need for capacity building in sustainable rice production across the region. Vietnam, in particular, stands to benefit significantly from the project's interventions, given its status as a major rice producer and exporter. Notably, countries such as Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Laos also play essential roles in global rice production, further underscoring the significance of collaborative initiatives like Cabin.

Structured around three distinct work packages, the project encompasses needs assessment, strategy development, creation of tailored training materials, and the facilitation of Training of Trainers (ToTs) sessions focused on sustainable rice straw practices.

The cooperation agreement, signed by Dr. Joanna K. Potaka, Deputy General Director of IRRI, and Ambassador Dr. Charles C. Li, Secretary General of TaiwanICDF, was formalized during the Launching Workshop of the Technical Guidelines and Manual for High-Quality and Low-Emission Rice Production in the Mekong Delta in An Giang, Vietnam.

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