What exactly is Sustainable Rice? The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world's first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. Designed for farm-level impact at the smallholder level, each requirement in 41 criteria is relevant, practical, and under the farmer's control.
SRP-compliant cultivation promotes good practices from soil preparation, pesticide and fertilizer management to keeping farm logbook, harvesting and by-product management. For example, the soil must be loose, flat, and free of leftover seeds from previous seasons, weeds and snails.
As a requirement of rice seed production, the seeding density was only half as high as that of ordinary rice. “There was a technical assistant who weekly visited the paddy field to evaluate the rice growth, disease and pest level so as to arrive at immediate solutions. Because of this, I used a lot less fertilizer than before,” added Hung.
With respect to integrated pest management, the technical assistant continuously supported farmers in analyzing and evaluating the farming ecological system and gave recommendations for reducing pesticide use if possible. Hung sprayed pesticides only 4 times during the season, compared to 7 times in the non- SRP cultivation.
During the season, Hung also recorded all related information into a farm logbook. By doing so, he could manage his production as well as calculate the costs and benefits. The assistant also provided great support for Hung in doing this daily work.
Applying SRP, Hung also stopped burning straws to “reduce gas emission and harmful effects on the environment,” said Hung.
However, Hung is worried about his employees’ occupational safety. He hired part-time laborers to spray pesticides and it was difficult for him to make them use protection equipment. He hopes that in the next seasons, together with the technical assistant, he will find a way to get his labors protecting themselves with the necessary equipment.