Rice is arguably the world’s most important agricultural crop. Over half of the global population relies on it as their daily staple food; over a fifth depend on rice cultivation for their livelihood. But, rice production is also responsible for large amounts of methane emissions. And, rice growing consumes a high percentage of global irrigation water.
The challenges we face in making rice more sustainable are a microcosm of the wider issues Sustainability Professionals face in agriculture. We know most of the technological solutions, but we also know that they cannot totally fix the problem. And while some of the solutions can be delivered by companies, we also need governments and NGO's to be heavily involved. Most rice farmers are poor, and so are unable to invest in the changes needed. It sounds to us like the answer needs to be blended finance, where the public and private sectors work together.
Summary of a story published in Greenbiz Foodstuff:
Rice is the world’s most important crop. Over half of the global population relies on rice as their daily staple food; over a fifth depends on rice cultivation for their livelihood. This is all according to the International Rice Research Institute and the U.S. Department for Agriculture.
But, rice production is also responsible for large amounts of methane emissions. According to the World Resources Institute, they equate to about 10 percent of global agricultural GHG emissions. And, rice growing consumes 40 percent of global irrigation water.