Picking Rice -
The Wildlife-Friendly Ibis Rice Project is implemented byWildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Forestry Administration. The project is funded by a 2-year World Bank Development Marketplace grant, a 1-year APFED grant and part of the UNDP-GEF CALM project. All village-level activities, including subcontracts to local NGO partners, are supported by the Multi-Donor Livelihoods Facility (MDLF) Civil Society and Pro-poor Marketing Program (CSPPM) through The Asia Foundation. The MDLF comprises the UK government Department for International Development (DfID), the Danish International Aid Agency (Danida) and New Zealand Aid.
There are several partners involved in the implementation of the project. Farmers receive training on how to grow new varieties of rice, maintain rice quality, maintain water levels and procure seeds. Support is also provided for the creation of a local VMN, managed by a local board of elected officials; training includes courses on financial management, stock keeping and rice storage. These activities are implemented by SMP as well as other NGOs, such as Farmer Livelihood Development (FLD).
WCS and the VMN are responsible for the certification and purchase of Ibis-Friendly Rice in each village, with the help of SMP. Local Village Committees manage land-use plans each year, and develop plans for acceptable rice field expansion for approval by the community and the government agencies. Each year the VMNs prepare a list of candidate farmers for the Ibis Rice scheme that have kept to land-use plans and respected the no-hunting agreements.
SMP is part of a team responsible for the monitoring of village land use. WCS independently verifies that the candidate farmers have followed land-use plans and agreements, in close consultation with the government agencies running the reserves, and the VMNs are then provided with financial capital by SMP to arrange the purchase from the chosen farmers. Rice is then kept in the VMN village storage area.
SMP transports the Ibis Rice from the village store for processing, milling and packaging at a mill close to the point of sale. Initially, most rice is to be sold to hotels and restaurants in either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. Towards the end of the first year, rice will be sold in smaller consumer-sized packages in shops in those same cities. The marketing and sale of Ibis Rice is undertaken by SMP, who verify sales and ensure that Wildlife-Friendly criteria are being adhered to. SMP maintains a list of acceptable buyers, who follow certain procedures in their restaurants, such as banning the sale of wildlife products and bushmeat on their premises.
You can donate ride to any legitimate organization or family in the Siem Reap area. SMP will deliver the rice and send you an email with proof of delivery - a photo of the recipient with the rice you have given them. This will also be posted here and on the Ibis Rice Facebook page.