IBIS Rice initiative improves farm life while protecting wildlife throughout the Kingdom.
The non-profit IBIS Rice Project was started to link livelihoods with wildlife conservation in rural Cambodia and is run in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia (WCS Cambodia) and the Ministry of Environment, Cambodia.
The project encourages farmers in protected rural areas of unique biodiversity to abide by conservation agreements by providing a financial incentive. These farmers, who were previously reliant on hunting and trapping protected wildlife along with farming to survive, are paid a premium for their naturally grown (non-chemical) fragrant rice in return for following closely monitored conservation agreements that regulate both hunting and land use.
IBIS Rice has been certified by the Wildlife Friendly Program.
IBIS Rice was launched in 2009 by the Wildlife Conservation Society in Preah Vihear province. Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, and Mondulkiri are the three more provinces that it has recently expanded to.
This project uses a sustainable supply chain to help conservation, the protection of wildlife, and a decrease in poverty for the communities involved. The Ministry of Environment, Cambodia has given it its full support.
The WCS Cambodia team trains farmers in rice farming methods and gives them specific contracts to guarantee that their rice will be purchased from them.
Before the organization buys their rice, those who accept to carry out this project must also abide by the terms outlined in the contract.
It is prohibited to use any form of chemical pesticides, clear forest areas, cut down trees, hunt or trap wild animals. The organization won’t accept the rice produced if they don’t adhere to the contract precisely.
The rice that the farmers grow is of high quality and is sold for a price that is 50% higher than the market price. This is due to the fact that the people respect the concept of protecting natural resources.
Today, around 1,500 smallholder farmers engaged in the IBIS Rice initiative cultivate rice using practices that are wildlife-friendly.