More Crop Per Drop®
March 22, 2023
The World Water Day theme for 2023 is Accelerating Change, stating “This World Water Day is about accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. Water affects everyone, so we need everyone to take action. You and your family, school and community can make a difference by changing the way you use, consume and manage water in your lives”.
One way you can make a difference, suggested on the UN-Water website is to “look for products made with less water”. This is where Lotus Foods comes in! Our global impact includes 500 million gallons less water used annually and 40% less methane emitted from fields using More Crop Per Drop® practices.
More Crop Per Drop® is how we refer to the agroecological rice-growing method System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Farmers do not need special seeds or agrochemicals. They boost yields by changing how they grow rice to optimize the plants’ development. They transplant younger seedlings and plant them in wide rows, instead of random clumps of older seedlings. This reduces transplant shock and competition among plants, and enables mechanical weeding. Soils are kept moist, not flooded, promoting soil health and root growth. Rice plants actually grow better in soils that have access to oxygen, which a blanket of water shuts out.
By adopting More Crop Per Drop® growing practices, farmers can reduce their water use by over 25-50%, while also increasing their yields. This is how farmers produce Lotus Foods’ Organic Basmati, Jasmine, Quick Cook, Red Rice, and Tricolor Blend Rice.
In Fi Global’s article about changing global rice production, they wrote:
Lotus Foods is also working to raise rice’s reputation from a basic staple to one that can be sustainable, ethical and even gourmet. Since 2009, it has sourced rice from organic family farmers that use a growing process called ‘System of Rice Intensification’ (SRI) for its consumer-facing rice products.
Although rice can survive in water, it doesn’t necessarily thrive in water, and by not growing rice in flooded paddy fields, farming communities have more water for other uses while methane emissions are cut by up to 40%.
Rice growing in fields that are not continuously flooded.
WHY ARE LOTUS FOODS' EFFORTS TO PROMOTE MORE WATER-EFFICIENT RICE PRODUCTION SO IMPORTANT?
Irrigated rice receives an estimated 34−43% of the total world’s irrigation water, or about 24−30% of the entire world’s annual supplies of renewable freshwater. Freshwater is replenished through the process of the water cycle, in which water from seas, lakes, forests, land, rivers and reservoirs evaporates, forms clouds and returns as precipitation in the rain and snow. Despite its importance for life, though, freshwater is an extremely rare resource on Earth. Less than 3% of the water found on Earth is freshwater, and the remaining 97% is salt water, such as what is found in the ocean. Most of the world’s freshwater is not easily accessible to humans. Approximately 69 percent of Earth’s freshwater is locked away in the form of ice in glaciers and polar ice caps, and another 30% of Earth’s freshwater is under the surface in the form of groundwater. That leaves only about 1% of Earth’s freshwater as readily available for human use!. According to one estimate, freshwater demand will increase by 50% by 2050. This increase in water use will put further strain on Earth’s limited freshwater supplies and make access to freshwater even more important. Thus, reducing how much water is used to grow the global crop rice is essential.