Climate Smart Rice Production
As a member of the Climate Collaborative, Lotus Foods is supporting the first-ever Climate Day, Wednesday, March 8, at Natural Products Expo West, the largest natural foods trade show in the U.S, held in Anaheim, California. Co-hosted by Climate Collaborative and New Hope Network, Climate Day will involve a day of panels, speakers and information on how companies can take action to reverse climate change, and highlight ongoing and new corporate commitments to lead the way.
Lotus Foods Climate Commitment
The global food system is a significant driver of climate change, contributing about a quarter of the world’s GHG emissions, according to a recent Oxfam report. Conventional rice production is a major cause due to the emission of methane, a powerful global warming-causing gas. Lotus Foods is partnering with small-scale farmers who have adopted changes in their rice-farming practices that reduce this potent greenhouse gas by 30 to 60 percent. “We have been working with farmers applying agroecological System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods, or what we call More Crop Per Drop™ since 2008,” notes Caryl Levine, Lotus Foods Co-Founder/Co-CEO. “Initially, we were most concerned about reducing water consumption in rice production—as it’s one of the largest users of our planet’s freshwater supplies— and creating market incentives for these pioneering farmers. We didn’t realize then that one of the many benefits of moving from continuously flooded to oxygen-rich, aerobic soils is a reduction in methane gas. Research has since validated this.[i] So this is an exciting win-win strategy.” The same Oxfam report cites SRI as an innovation that could play a vital role in driving down the massive emissions from rice production while also benefiting small-scale producers (Box 3, page 17).
[i] Geetha Lakshmi V. et al. August 2016. "System of rice intensification: Climate-smart rice cultivation system to mitigate climate change impacts in India." In: Climate Change and Agricultural Development: Improving Resilience through Climate Smart Agriculture, Agroecology and Conservation. Udaya Sekhar Nagothu (Editor). Earthscan Food and Agriculture Series. "Fields with SRI could reduce CH4 production by about 30–60 percent and lower the Global Warming Potential significantly."