Water Wise Rice


In a world of water-insecurity its good to remember that certain crops demand more intensive water use than others. Rice, for example, requires huge amounts of water in order to cultivate. As a result, rice production faces serious threats in the future. Fortunately, a few forward-thinking rice purveyors have begun to address the water-stewardship challenge.

System Rice Intensification (SRI) is a method of rice production aimed at increasing the yield of rice produced in farming. It is a low water, labor-intensive, method that uses younger seedlings singly spaced and typically hand weeded with special tools. In this way more small farmers are able to grow rice in a more healthfully and sustainably manner, using fifty percent less water, ninety percent less seed, and no agro-chemicals whatsoever.

Lotus Foods, a longstanding Bay Area rice-purveyor has been promoting biodiversity, sustainablility, and fair trade practices in their supply chain for decades. They also sell a wonderful line of SRI grown rices including: Jasmine, Carnaroli, Madagascar Pink, and Mekong Flower.

Through the combined efforts of both non-profit organizations and responsible purveyors like Lotus Foods, the SRI method is gaining ground. So far, an estimated one million farmers in more than 30 countries have adopted the practice, cutting greenhouse gas emissions significantly and reducing water use by 50 percent.