Project Drawdown - SRI
Rice is the staple food of 3 billion people, providing one-fifth of calories consumed worldwide. Its cultivation is responsible for at least 10 percent of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 9 to 19 percent of global methane emissions. That is because flooded rice paddies are ideal anaerobic environments for methane-producing microbes that feed on decomposing organic matter, a process known as methanogenesis.
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI), developed on Madagascar in the 1980s, is a holistic approach for sustainable rice cultivation. It calls for:
- Planting single seedlings with more space between them, rather than by the handful and bunched closely together.
- Watering intermittently and allowing for dry spells, rather than using continuous flooding.
- Tending plots with a rotating hoe, to address weeds and aerate soil, and applying compost.