Having joined the IBIS Rice Programme, 827 members of the scheme have stopped burning rice stubble in their paddy fields, contributing to climate change mitigation, according to the Morodok Baitang Bulletin published by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The monthly bulletin's April edition, made public on May 11, explained that it was previously standard practice across Cambodia for farmers to burn rice stubble after they had harvested their paddy fields. The burn-offs contributed to air pollution and climate change in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. The practice can also cause wildfires in and around protected areas that destroy forests and kill wildlife.
To prevent this, the Sansom Mlup Prey Organisation (SMP), along with USAID Morodok Baitang, ran a campaign to raise awareness of the impacts and consequences of the burning. As an incentive, the IBIS Rice Programme pays premium prices to farmers who grow organic rice and cease the practice of burning rice stubble.
The farmers are encouraged to use it for their own benefit, by ploughing their fields to bury the stubble, which in turn improves the quality of the soil.
The SMP team conducts post-harvest inspections as part of the internal control system of the IBIS Rice Programme from January to February each year. It inspects the rice fields to ensure that farmers are adhering to the principles of the programme.