The art of rice cultivation has been perfected over thousands of years
The 'Rice Art' occupies an area of 16,000 square metres and
depictsfarmers wearing straw hats and using sickles to harvest rice
-reflecting the traditions and way of life of rice farmers. We
plantedour work of art in Thailand's Central Plains - an area
recognised asone of Southeast Asia's most fertile rice producing
regions -- with
two colours of organic rice. One is an irrigated local rice
variety which appears green from above, and the second is a
traditional black rice variety.
Rice is life
Rice is inextricably linked with the culture and way of life of
peoplein Southeast Asia and this rich rice heritage must be
protectedthrough sustainable rice farming. The best way to do this
is tosafeguard rice against risky 'technologies' like
geneticengineering, and invest in productive and ecological farming
methodsthat are not dependent on harmful chemical inputs.
Governmentsin Southeast Asia should issue an outright ban on GE
(geneticallyengineered) crops, particularly GE rice. GE crops
threaten farmers'livelihoods and pose irreversible damage to the
environment. Because thecorporate backers of GE rice encourage
monoculture plantations whichreduce diversity, GE crops increase
the risk to worldwide riceproduction posed by global warming.
Rice is themost important food crop in Southeast Asia -
accounting for around 25percent of the total world rice production
in 2008. But rice productionin countries such as Indonesia, the
Philippines and Thailand facesthreats from profit-driven bio-tech
Farming in the face of climate change
Southeast Asia is the world's leading agricultural producer -
but atthe same time it is incredibly vulnerable to disasters caused
An Asian Development Bank (ADB) study released last
Aprilrevealed that if global action is not taken, climate
change will causea serious decline in rice production in countries
such as Indonesia,the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Climatechange will profoundly affect agriculture worldwide. Food
security inmany countries is under threat from unpredictable
changes in rainfalland more frequent extreme weather. Seventy
percent of the world'sextreme poverty is found in agricultural
areas where farmers depend onrain for their harvests - where too
much or too little rain spellsdisaster. Governments need to
recognise that agriculture isparticularly vulnerable to climate
change and they must ensureadaptation strategies are based on
sustainable agricultural techniques.
In our report "
Food Security and Climate Change"we review recent scientific
studies that underline the most effectivestrategy to adapt
agriculture to climate change - increasingagricultural
biodiversity. A mix of different crops and varieties inone field is
a proven and highly reliable farming method to increaseresilience
to erratic weather changes. And, the best ways to increasestress
tolerance in single varieties are modern breeding technologiesthat
do not entail genetic tampering.
In addition tosafeguarding agriculture against climate change -
it is essential torecognise that agriculture itself is one of the
largest emitters ofgreenhouse gases. Our
'Cool Farming'report details the destructive practices
resulting from industrialagriculture and presents workable
solutions to help reduce itscontribution to climate change. These
practical changes will benefitthe environment as well as farmers
and consumers throughout the worldwithout the use of dangerous
genetically engineered crops.
Weare campaigning for GE-free crop and food production grounded
on theprinciples of sustainability, protection of biodiversity, and
providingall people access to safe and nutritious food. Genetic
engineering isan unnecessary and unwanted technology that
contaminates theenvironment, threatens biodiversity and may pose
risks to our health.
Ask governments worldwide to protect consumers and farmers, their crops and fields by rejecting GE Rice
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