Reducing methane emissions from rice
The Sustainable Rice Platform is promoting resource-use efficiency and climate change resilience in rice systems in Asia and Africa
Rice is the staple food of every second person on this planet. Over 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in the Asia-Pacific region, representing 25% of the world’s farming population. Rice is also a highly polluting crop, accounting for 16% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. The main culprit is methane, emitted from flooded rice fields as bacteria in the flooded soil produce it in large quantities. The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), a 100+ member multi-stakeholder effort, was created to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in trade flows, production and consumption operations, and supply chains in the global rice sector. Their goal is to influence one million rice smallholders to adopt sustainable best practices in rice production. One low-hanging fruit that the initiative is working on is the reduction of on-farm losses. For every 1% reduction in rice loss, more than 7,000,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and more than 1,600,000 hectares of land is saved. To reach the voluntary target of a 50% reduction in losses by 2030, SRP’s members will implement improved harvesting techniques, low-cost on-farm and off-farm storage technologies and changes in handling practices. Secondary markets for rice that otherwise would be discarded are also under development.