Description/achievement of initiative
The Wildlife Conservation Society launched the Ibis Rice initiative in 2009 to promote and market wildlife-friendly rice grown in the communities located in areas in the northern plains of Cambodia protected for their biodiversity value. Ibis Rice links wildlife conservation to improving livelihoods of villagers whose opportunities are limited by the constraints of living in a remote area with little opportunity to expand their farms and limited market access.
Ibis Rice was launched in 2009 to promote and market wildlife-friendly rice grown in the communities located in areas protected for their biodiversity value in Cambodia. Its work links wildlife conservation to improving livelihoods of villagers whose opportunities are limited by the constraints of living in a remote area with little opportunity to expand their farms and limited market access. Ibis Rice buys paddy at a premium from village marketing networks, whose members are made up of farmers who are often not food secure and rely on forest resources for income. Ibis Rice has worked to market wildlife-friendly produce that is produced by local communities in the Northern Plains. Target buyers include domestic tourist hotels and restaurants, food retailers and potentially, international markets.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Now in its seventh year of operation and with proven social and environmental impact results, the primary capacity-building objectives are to:• Improve milling yields• Adopt new procurement logistics strategies• Introduce new purchase strategy, quality training and quality reward• Adjust wholesale sales strategy• Help farmers obtain organic certification
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
A partnership of non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government agencies, this project provides local communities with an incentive to engage in conservation, by offering farmers a premium price for their rice if they agree to abide conservation agreements that are designed to protect the rare water birds and other species that use the protected areas.The first of these agreements is a land-use plan that is developed by the local community and which clearly delineates the areas that farmers are permitted to clear for growing rice or other produce. This therefore limits the conversion of wetland areas to rice fields. They then develop a 'no-hunting' agreement, which outlaws the hunting and collection of rare waterbirds and their chicks.These agreements are enforced by a locally elected natural resource management committee, which is composed of representatives from the village, and thus guarantees a high degree of 'local ownership' of the scheme. Since the majority of the inhabitants of rural communities in Cambodia are engaged in rice farming, the scheme has the potential to benefit a high proportion of the population within each village.The implementation of the project in each village follows a prescribed number of simple steps. Firstly, a Village Marketing Network (VMN) is formed in the village. The VMN is responsible for purchasing the rice from farmers and verifying that the farmers have respected the conservation agreements, with oversight from the natural resource management committee. The VMN then stores the rice at a central location within the village. Transportation, processing and packaging, as well as the eventual marketing and sale of the rice, is coordinated by Sansom Mlup Prey (SMP).SMP organizes the collection of rice from each of the participating villages and delivers it to a mill for processing. The rice is then packaged and branded as Ibis Rice, and delivered to those outlets that have been contracted to sell the rice. WCS Cambodia has received certification from the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) for Ibis Rice so the rice is also labeled as Wildlife Friendly™ certified. All contracts are negotiated by SMP, which is a non-profit organization. Farmers are paid when they supply their rice to the VMN, with the VMN funding the purchases from a cash advance provided by SMP; revenue earned by SMP is used to cover these advances, as well as funding their operating costs.
* Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
* Sansom Mlup Prey
* Accounting for International Development (AfID)
* Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network