Writer: Tobias Vomberg, Intern for the SRP Support Unit
A group of active and young minds has explored how sustainability activities are put in place to bring a positive change to small holder rice farmers in central Thailand.
Seven Grade 11 students from NIST International School in Bangkok spent a week with German International Cooperation (GIZ) Thailand’s Agriculture and Food Cluster, starting from 6 to 12 June 2019.
Many students said they first did not have an idea what sustainable rice was all about.
One of them is Carla Davies, who had never given the sustainability some thought when eating Thai rice until she took part in work experience week.
“I always knew that Thai people eat a lot of rice but I did not really know about all the inputs which are needed to produce it,” the 16-year-old student said, adding that sustainable practices are necessary to make rice more environmentally friendly, economically profitable and socially equitable.
While another student from the same class, Kento Mitsumura, 15 years old, said knowledge he has gained from the activity has made him become more environmentally aware.
“Before I came to GIZ for the work experience week, my thoughts about rice were, that there is not that much I have to be concerned about, as I thought it was already sourced sustainably,” a half-Thai half-Japanese boy shared his thoughts.
During the first two days, the students met with Lea Las Piñas, Communications and Member Liaison Officer at Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) who shared her knowledge about rice cultivation standards and issues concerning earth-unfriendly rice cultivation.
The students also took part in an educational field trip to Ang Thong province the following day, where they learned more about sustainable rice farming technologies and had the first-hand experience in the rice fields.
Diederik Pretorius, Compliance & Sustainability Director at Herba Bangkok S.L (Ebro Foods S.A.), one of GIZ’s key partners, who also joined the trip has provided information about the milling and distribution process to the students.
But their task did not only consist of having an idea of what sustainable rice is.
The students met with the cluster’s communication officers who shared their experiences on writing good photo captions and taking a powerful photo.
The students developed photo stories which showcase the process of rice throughout the whole supply chain to make the audience become more aware of the sustainability in each step of rice products.
The activity is supported and supervised by GIZ Thailand’s Agriculture and Food Cluster in collaboration with SRP Secretariat. Its aim is to develop understandings of the sustainability of the rice supply chain among youngsters.
If you are interested in learning more about their photo project, you are very welcome to visit GIZ’s booth at Business Unusual: 2nd Global Sustainable Rice Conference and Exhibition, United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok between 1 and 2 October 2019.