Rice fields need too much water and emit too much greenhouse gases.
Rice is a major staple food for much of the world’s population and world food security highly depends on irrigated lowland rice. But recently irrigation water is becoming scarce. Asia contributes more than 90% of the world’s total rice production while using more than 90% of the total irrigation water. And recently, scientists have come to realize the huge amount of methane (CH4) produced in rice fields. In 2017, the total global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions were 32.5 billion tons worldwide, of which more than 3% would be CH4 generated from rice fields. CH4, one of the greenhouse gas whose global warming potential is 21 times higher than CO2, is produced when organic materials are decomposed under anaerobic conditions such as underwater. Regarding CH4 emissions, rice fields are obviously the world’s largest man-made methane source.In the near future, water shortages due to climate change may not keep normal rice cultivation. Also conventional rice farming should be innovated as soon as possible due to the large amount of methane that exacerbates devastating climate change.
Why such a sustainability problems?
Rice is grown in water to control weeds and rice field should be constantly filled with water for almost of the growing period. For this reason, generally 150 cm of water is withdrawn from the water source and sent to the rice field around the world. That means more than 3 tons of water consumption is inevitable to produce 1kg of rice. And CH4 continues to be produced in the process of decomposition of organic matter in water. The cause of sustainability problems is that rice is grown in water.
How can we, Green&Seed Corp., solve these problems?
In order to solve the problem of excessive water use and lots of GHG emissions in rice farming, we innovated rice cultivation into a secondary industry with climate-resilience and called it “Seed Film Cultivation (SFC)”.
SFC uses the characteristics of rice and biodegradable films. In fact, rice is not an aquatic plant but a semi-aquatic plant. If the rice paddies are not flooded in water, aerobic condition of soil leads to high yields. But, without water, aerobic weeds with the largest population dominate the fields and rice can’t grow. As a result, to prevent weeds, rice has long been grown in water. If weeds can be suppressed, it is better to grow rice outside of the water. SFC is dry soil direct sowing using seed attached biodegradable film. Biodegradation film suppresses weeds and provide an optimal environment for growing rice. SFC grow rice outside of the water.
SFC, a climate-smart agriculture, aims at securing human food security by raising rice outside of the water and enabling rice farming even corn fields, highlands, even in deserts.