After three days of the International Rice Workshop in Solo, on the island of Java in Indonesia, enegy remains high among participants. On Monday they have exchanged the situation of family farming and its engagement in rice chains in their respective regions, the nature and characteristics of these rice chains and the institutional environment in which these are situated.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, VECO Indonesia and their partners have taken us to rice production fields, to the offices of farmer organisations and local governments and to their rice processing units, as well as to industrial big-scale rice processing factories.
A commodity as rice, in which most of the VECOs are involved through chain development and advocacy programmes, is of high importance in food economies in all of the regions we are active and has become highly politicised through all kind of regulatory measures to seek food sovereignty and to keep rice affordable for consumers in major cities. The importance of the workshop for the different offices of Vredeseilanden up to this point is already quite clear. Knowledge and expertise of the different regions, be it from the VECO offices, from the farmer organisations or from the invited rice experts, is highly relevant for all participants.
On Thursday and Friday participants will draw lessons from the field visits and pathways of change so that pilots of rice chain development, gathered evidence and advocacy actions in the future might really lead to structural changes favorable for rice family farmers.
More news and conclusions after the workshop! Chris Claes & Karen Janssens