TaiwanICDF and IRRI creating circular economies in straw

15 April 2024 08:49

Center for Green Economy

Taipei/Manila - The International Cooperation and Development Fund and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have established the Capacity Building for Sustainable and Low-Carbon Rice Innovations in Southeast Asia project to help farmers foster circular economies related to sustainable and low-carbon rice straw management.

Rice farmers in Southeast Asia frequently burn the straw that piles up as they intensify their plantings and harvests. This practice hurts the soil, exhausting nutrients and releasing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

Now the Taipei-based International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) and the Manila, Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are cooperating to help farmers in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, and Vietnam create circular economies related to sustainable and low-carbon rice straw management.

Called the Capacity Building for Sustainable and Low-Carbon Rice Innovations in Southeast Asia, the project aims to educate farmers, policymakers, and others about sustainable and low-carbon rice production, foster innovations in rice straw innovations, boost productivity, and increase income while curbing environmental impact from this year through 2028, a press release published on April 12 said.

IRRI Scientist Dr. Nguyen Van Hung said the five countries want to expand their yields and invest in sustainable, low-carbon rice production. Vietnam exports roughly 45 million tonnes of rice annually. Indonesia exports 56 million tonnes. Cambodia exports 44 million tonnes. The Philippines ships out 26 million tonnes, and Laos sells 1.7 million tonnes.

Rather than burning rice straw, for instance, farmers in those countries could use their straw for mulch to grow mushrooms that, in turn, could become fertilizer. 

TaiwanICDF and IRRI teams will assess needs, develop strategies, create training materials, and educate trainers who can then disseminate sustainable rice straw practices. ce/jd

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