Non-GMO Month Spotlight: Do the Rice Thing
Rice is Life!
SO LET’S DO THE RICE THING
This modest little grain is super important. It starts out looking like a blade of grass. Yet, it provides half the world’s population [over 3.5 billion people!] with 60-70% of their daily calories. And rice is the main source of livelihood for over 2 billion people living in low-income countries.
But rice production takes a toll on humans and the environment.
Annually it consumes one-quarter to one-third of our planet’s annual renewable fresh water.
Hundreds of millions of women must do back-breaking, repetitive tasks in unhygienic conditions of standing water.
Flooded rice fields contribute to global warming by emitting methane gas, which is approximately 30X more potent as a heat trapping gas than CO2.
Because of this, Lotus Foods supports More Crop Per DropTM – a smart agricultural practice that protects and restores natural resources, improves incomes and quality of life for farmers, especially women, and reduces climate impact. Together we can all “Do the Rice Thing.”
WHAT IS MORE CROP PER DROP™?
What we define as More Crop Per Drop™ is an organic version of a growing process called “System of Rice Intensification.” (SRI). SRI was developed to improve rice yields of low-income farmers to alleviate poverty and improve food security. Promoted by development agencies such as Oxfam, Africare and WWF, SRI does not require specialized seeds, chemicals or inputs. All it requires is a willingness to cultivate rice in a different way, to optimize the plants’ growing conditions .
The key tenets of SRI are to plant smaller, younger seedlings to reduce transplant shock, to plant them at wider spacing in rows (rather than randomly in clumps) to minimize competition and facilitate weeding, and to keep soils moist but not continuously flooded to promote soil health. SRI practices result in:
Less work and disease risk for women due to fewer and lighter seedlings to manage, upright weeding, and no work in standing water.
More water available for other crops, ecosystems and communities
At Lotus Foods, the rice produced by our farmers practicing More Crop Per Drop™ is USDA certified organic. Check out the video below for more details about how SRI works.
An estimated 5000 households in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Madagascar and Thailand benefit from Lotus Foods’ rice purchases and premiums due to Organic and Fair Trade certifications. SRI growing practices can generate up to 3X higher yields for farmers.
Savings of approximately 500 million gallons of water annually by reducing the amount of water used to irrigate rice fields under SRI management.
Methane gas emissions from SRI rice fields are reduced by approximately 40% by not keeping fields flooded.
The time women spend bent over transplanting and weeding is cut in half by SRI practices. And because they no longer have to work constantly in standing water, their exposure to parasites, leeches and other disease vectors like malarial mosquitoes is drastically reduced.
MEET OUR FARMERS
Nothing we sell would be possible without our farmers. We’ve dedicated our business to improving their lives and communities as well as the health of our shared environment.