Meet our member: Westmill Foods
Working alongside our members to feed the world. Sustainably.
SRP, together with our members and partners, is dedicated to transforming the global rice sector throughout the entire value chain for a healthier, more inclusive and sustainable future. In this interview series we ask SRP members and partners why they joined SRP, the main trends and developments they see in the industry, as well as their vision for the sector.
This week we spoke with Anoushka Harris, Sustainability Lead of SRP member Westmill Foods.
Company: Westmill Foods
Contact: Anoushka Harris, Sustainability Lead
Country: United Kingdom
Member since: 2017
1. Tell us about your company. When and why did you decided to join SRP?
Westmill is one of the largest importers of rice for the UK, with one of the key regions we source from being Pakistan for our basmati rice. Pakistan is predicted to be chronically short of water by 2025, and therefore, we felt that being involved with SRP was the best way to help us manage our supply chain impact in Pakistan from a social and environmental perspective, through the SRP Standard.
2. Tell us about the specific reasons and challenges you are trying to solve by joining SRP (or how you solved them)
Rice is an important crop to focus on due to:
- GHG emissions produced
- High rates of water consumption
- Some of the world’s poorest farmers are rice farmers.
- The rice crop can be variable in quality, so providing the farmers with access to certified seed, which previously they would not have been able to access will help to improve this.
- Low productivity for the farmer, which has previously resulted in lower income.
- It is important for farmers to adopt modern technologies to help them progress with their farming to help them produce higher yields, and consequently earn a better living.
- Water scarcity, crop quality and consistency (issues).
- Education around water, availability of machinery to use water more efficiently (AWD, laser levelling)
3. Tell us about the process and activities implementing SRP in your organization.
For Westmill we have partnered with our long-term supplier in country called Galaxy to help shape a program to implement SRP over the last 4 years. In terms of activities, we start with helping in laser levelling the field and subsidize farmers 50% of the cost of laser levelling. We also supply them with certified seed on a cost-to-cost basis as well as AWD tubes. These form the bedrock of the activities that go towards saving water and improving yields. Then, throughout the crop calendar regular visits are made to the farmer with timely advice on best inputs, soil health and other optimum agronomic practices.
4. Tell us about the future. What is your company’s vision and ambition for sustainable development of the rice industry and how could SRP be instrumental to achieve this ambition?
Currently our project is just focused on Pakistan, we would like to extend our reach to Thailand, where there is already a large SRP presence.
5. Any recommendations for companies and industry actors considering joining SRP?
The industry needs to gain a better understanding of the impacts rice farming has on the environment – which if more people get involved with SRP is possible. Plus, the SRP Standard takes into consideration multiple sustainability focus areas (water, human rights and environment).
Further, if you want to do a fulfilling project, you need be aware that it will take time, but it will be worth it in the end.
6. Your quote, or vision for 2025?
Our vision for 2025 is to source at least 50% of our rice from SRP certified farmers.
If you are an SRP member and would like to be part of our “Meet our Members” series, please contact Roong Tepkaew at email@example.com. We share these interviews on our website, in our newsletter and on our social media channels.