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Integrating Climate-Smart Rice
Agriculture in SupplyNetworks:
Lotus Foods’ Experience
Olivia Vent , Lotus Foods SRI Liaison
Rice is the daily food of half the world’s
people. 50% more needed by 2030 –
Increase supplies with less land/water
About half of all irrigation water is used
for rice – Reduce water use
Flooded fields produce methane –
Move to aerobic soils
Reliance on agrochemicals- Reduce use
Most rice is still largely produced on
±250 million family farms – Improve
productivity/profitability
Women do most of the work to growrice
(farm productivity is linked to worker
health) Women are most vulnerable to
climate change – Reduce health risks
Higher yields (50-100+%) with any variety;
promotes rice biodiversity, key to adapting to
climate change. Rainfed/irrigated conditions.
25-50% less water
40+% reduction in methane emissions
Improves soil health through aerobic soilsand
application or organic matter
Accessible to resource-limitedfamilies
More rice to eat and sell; more income
Resistant to drought, pests, diseases, storms
Women benefit from less work and fewer
health hazards.
Nutritional benefits (higher nutrient density,
reduced arsenic levels, diversified diets.
References on request
System of Rice Intensification (SRI)Rice and Climate Change
SYSTEM OF RICEINTENSIFICATION (SRI)
 Small seed beds (80-90%
fewer seeds)
 Seedlings transplanted at
8-15 days
 Transplanted in
unflooded conditions
 Seedlings widely spaced
in rows.
 Fields kept wet and dry
 2-3+ weedings with
conoweeder
 Organic fertilizers to
build soil health
 Seed nurseries in
flooded fields
 Seedling transplanted
at 30 days-45 days
 Transplanted in flooded
or puddled conditions
 Multiple plantlets to
each hole
 Flooded fields
 Hand weeding early,
then as needed
 Application of synthetic
fertilizer, herbicides
and pesticides
CONVENTIONAL
SRI
Non
SRI
About Lotus Foods
• Mission – Rice biodiversity, Fair prices for
family farmers, Sustainability
• Established 1995. Pioneered heirloom pigmented
rices to the US: Bhutan red rice, black rice from
China (trademarked Forbidden Rice®)
• Small company – Certified B Corporation. 12full-time
employees. Co-founder owned/led. HQ in California
• Present in all channels: natural, retail, e-commerce,
club. Retail stores across North America: Costco, Whole
Foods, Safeway, Amazon, etc.
• Core group of natural foods brands promotingreduced
emissions in supply chains in Climate Collaborative.
Farmers Supply
Partners
Lotus Foods
Distributors
Brokers
Store Buyers
Manufacturers
North
American
Consumers
2009: 200 farmers
2019: 1800 farmers
20-40% higher prices
Yields average 5t/ha;
1-2 t/ha more than
non SRI
NGO, Coops,
Individual
businesses:
Cambodia,
India, Indonesia
Thailand
• Receive Load
• QA/QC
(Sampling/Testing)
• Store/pack
• Order Fulfillment
Sell to Distributors
(Natural, Grocery,
Specialty, Mass &
Foodservice)
Direct Sales (Club &
Amazon, Industrial, Web)
Focus on local
and heritage
rices
Secure rice, store,
process, package,
food safety tests,
certify
2009: 3 containers
(54t)
2019 : 28 containers
(520t)
Pathway of SRI-produced rice to US markets
Farmers
Supply
Partners
Lotus Foods
Distributors
Brokers
Store Buyers
Manufacturers
North
American
Consumers
SRI affordable,
scaleable,
surpluses with any
variety. Meets
highest industry
standards: organic,
Demeter, FT,ROC;
sofi gold
Mission-driven.
Invested long-
term. Learn fast.
Provide technical
assistance
Invested in long-term;
VC/Lender support;
Strong outreach to
trade/consumers
Receptive to
Climate-friendly
rice. Demand
increasing.
Like choice, story,
taste, having impact.
Driving change!
Need training,
recordkeeping
skills, weeders,
organic inputs,
better water
control
Quality Control!
Inadequate equipment;
Capital for equipment &
inventory to scale;
Technical know-how;
Better accountability;
Certifications expensive
Multiple
inexperienced
supply partners.
Under-resourced.
Low margins;
subsidize partners
Very complex food
system with many
channels
Americans are not
big rice eaters;
capacity for only
so many novel
rices.
What’s Working
Challenges
Farmers: Exploring how block chain, Carboncredits,
Water Credits, W+ can improve transparency and
generate more benefits for farmers.
Supply Partners: Vacuum-packing machine costs
US$10K. Without the machine organic rice mustbe
shipped in a refrigerated container costing US$3k. 3
reefers = cost of packing machine.
Lotus Foods spends ca. $300k/yr on cleaning rice.
Could be invested in sales, lower prices to be more
competitive, innovation in value-added produ
Better Margins = Better Outcomes
Manual Sorting
One container=200 days.
Color Sorter=1 hour
cts, etc.
But costs US$30k-US$50k.
SRI fields, Tasikmalaya, Indonesia.
Climate Smart Impacts from
Sourcing SRI-grown Rice
 ±2 billion liters less water used annually on rice
fields from purchase of SRI-grown rice.
 750-850 liters water to produce/1 kg paddy & 6 -7 t/ha.
Non-SRI farmers = 2736 liters with yields of 4 t/ha.
 2018= ±4670 tons CO2eq not emitted withSRI.
 Restoring soils: ±600/tons less synthetic fertilizer
applied annually
 Promote rice biodiversity and on-farmbiodiversity
 Organic/Fair Trade prices make farming profitable/
enhance financial resilience. Communitybenefits.
Biogasifier
Bohra
Family,
Uttarakhand
Farming is
profitable.
Adoption of other CSA Innovations
Tasikmalaya, Indonesia.
Protection of natural habitats,
no run-off of agrochemicals
How to Achieve Global Traction and Impact
• More policy support for agroecological farming
• Infrastructure improvements in water delivery
• Democratize funding to spur local innovation, improve farmer
ownership of value chain, value-added innovation,commercialize
technologies
• Small-scale, gender-friendly mechanization
• Improved access to capital to reduce risk to small companies,
investors and enable scaling
• Crop insurance for CSA strategies; Less expensive certifications
• Procurement programs to support inclusive CSArice/crops
• More research collaborations with the natural productsindustry
• More research on how innovations impact women’swell-being
Growing Rice Water Smart,
Women Strong & Climate Wise

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1910 - Integrating Climate Smart Rice Agriculture in Supply Networks - Lotus Foods' Experience

  • 1. Integrating Climate-Smart Rice Agriculture in SupplyNetworks: Lotus Foods’ Experience Olivia Vent , Lotus Foods SRI Liaison
  • 2. Rice is the daily food of half the world’s people. 50% more needed by 2030 – Increase supplies with less land/water About half of all irrigation water is used for rice – Reduce water use Flooded fields produce methane – Move to aerobic soils Reliance on agrochemicals- Reduce use Most rice is still largely produced on ±250 million family farms – Improve productivity/profitability Women do most of the work to growrice (farm productivity is linked to worker health) Women are most vulnerable to climate change – Reduce health risks Higher yields (50-100+%) with any variety; promotes rice biodiversity, key to adapting to climate change. Rainfed/irrigated conditions. 25-50% less water 40+% reduction in methane emissions Improves soil health through aerobic soilsand application or organic matter Accessible to resource-limitedfamilies More rice to eat and sell; more income Resistant to drought, pests, diseases, storms Women benefit from less work and fewer health hazards. Nutritional benefits (higher nutrient density, reduced arsenic levels, diversified diets. References on request System of Rice Intensification (SRI)Rice and Climate Change
  • 3. SYSTEM OF RICEINTENSIFICATION (SRI)  Small seed beds (80-90% fewer seeds)  Seedlings transplanted at 8-15 days  Transplanted in unflooded conditions  Seedlings widely spaced in rows.  Fields kept wet and dry  2-3+ weedings with conoweeder  Organic fertilizers to build soil health  Seed nurseries in flooded fields  Seedling transplanted at 30 days-45 days  Transplanted in flooded or puddled conditions  Multiple plantlets to each hole  Flooded fields  Hand weeding early, then as needed  Application of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides CONVENTIONAL SRI Non SRI
  • 4. About Lotus Foods • Mission – Rice biodiversity, Fair prices for family farmers, Sustainability • Established 1995. Pioneered heirloom pigmented rices to the US: Bhutan red rice, black rice from China (trademarked Forbidden Rice®) • Small company – Certified B Corporation. 12full-time employees. Co-founder owned/led. HQ in California • Present in all channels: natural, retail, e-commerce, club. Retail stores across North America: Costco, Whole Foods, Safeway, Amazon, etc. • Core group of natural foods brands promotingreduced emissions in supply chains in Climate Collaborative.
  • 5. Farmers Supply Partners Lotus Foods Distributors Brokers Store Buyers Manufacturers North American Consumers 2009: 200 farmers 2019: 1800 farmers 20-40% higher prices Yields average 5t/ha; 1-2 t/ha more than non SRI NGO, Coops, Individual businesses: Cambodia, India, Indonesia Thailand • Receive Load • QA/QC (Sampling/Testing) • Store/pack • Order Fulfillment Sell to Distributors (Natural, Grocery, Specialty, Mass & Foodservice) Direct Sales (Club & Amazon, Industrial, Web) Focus on local and heritage rices Secure rice, store, process, package, food safety tests, certify 2009: 3 containers (54t) 2019 : 28 containers (520t) Pathway of SRI-produced rice to US markets
  • 6. Farmers Supply Partners Lotus Foods Distributors Brokers Store Buyers Manufacturers North American Consumers SRI affordable, scaleable, surpluses with any variety. Meets highest industry standards: organic, Demeter, FT,ROC; sofi gold Mission-driven. Invested long- term. Learn fast. Provide technical assistance Invested in long-term; VC/Lender support; Strong outreach to trade/consumers Receptive to Climate-friendly rice. Demand increasing. Like choice, story, taste, having impact. Driving change! Need training, recordkeeping skills, weeders, organic inputs, better water control Quality Control! Inadequate equipment; Capital for equipment & inventory to scale; Technical know-how; Better accountability; Certifications expensive Multiple inexperienced supply partners. Under-resourced. Low margins; subsidize partners Very complex food system with many channels Americans are not big rice eaters; capacity for only so many novel rices. What’s Working Challenges
  • 7. Farmers: Exploring how block chain, Carboncredits, Water Credits, W+ can improve transparency and generate more benefits for farmers. Supply Partners: Vacuum-packing machine costs US$10K. Without the machine organic rice mustbe shipped in a refrigerated container costing US$3k. 3 reefers = cost of packing machine. Lotus Foods spends ca. $300k/yr on cleaning rice. Could be invested in sales, lower prices to be more competitive, innovation in value-added produ Better Margins = Better Outcomes Manual Sorting One container=200 days. Color Sorter=1 hour cts, etc. But costs US$30k-US$50k.
  • 8. SRI fields, Tasikmalaya, Indonesia. Climate Smart Impacts from Sourcing SRI-grown Rice  ±2 billion liters less water used annually on rice fields from purchase of SRI-grown rice.  750-850 liters water to produce/1 kg paddy & 6 -7 t/ha. Non-SRI farmers = 2736 liters with yields of 4 t/ha.  2018= ±4670 tons CO2eq not emitted withSRI.  Restoring soils: ±600/tons less synthetic fertilizer applied annually  Promote rice biodiversity and on-farmbiodiversity  Organic/Fair Trade prices make farming profitable/ enhance financial resilience. Communitybenefits. Biogasifier Bohra Family, Uttarakhand Farming is profitable. Adoption of other CSA Innovations Tasikmalaya, Indonesia. Protection of natural habitats, no run-off of agrochemicals
  • 9. How to Achieve Global Traction and Impact • More policy support for agroecological farming • Infrastructure improvements in water delivery • Democratize funding to spur local innovation, improve farmer ownership of value chain, value-added innovation,commercialize technologies • Small-scale, gender-friendly mechanization • Improved access to capital to reduce risk to small companies, investors and enable scaling • Crop insurance for CSA strategies; Less expensive certifications • Procurement programs to support inclusive CSArice/crops • More research collaborations with the natural productsindustry • More research on how innovations impact women’swell-being
  • 10. Growing Rice Water Smart, Women Strong & Climate Wise