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


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Title: Integrating Climate-Smart Rice Agriculture in Supply Networks - Lotus Foods' Experience
Presenter: Olivia Vent
Venue: 5th Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture 2019, Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia
Date: October 8, 2019

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

  1. 1. Integrating Climate-Smart Rice Agriculture in SupplyNetworks: Lotus Foods’ Experience Olivia Vent , Lotus Foods SRI Liaison
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 10. Growing Rice Water Smart, Women Strong & Climate Wise