Bayer AG, the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company, announced it has signed a deal with the International Rice Research Institute to develop and promote an efficient and sustainable method for producing rice — one that would allow farmers to earn more.
The initiative, called the Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), is developing a comprehensive, science-based, agronomic package adapted for direct seeded rice production in Asia, making direct seeded rice accessible and widely available to rice farmers, thereby enhancing the economic and ecological sustainability of rice production in Asia.
DSR has emerged as an efficient and economically viable alternative to traditional rice farming methods as it saves scarce and expensive resources such as labor and water and reduces GHG emissions. Recently, DSR has been widely practiced in many Asian countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Many other countries including South Asia are going through this transition from manual transplanting to mechanized DSR. In future, with labor and water becoming increasingly scarce and expensive; alternative rice establishment methods which are labor and water efficient, such as DSR, will be the preferred method of rice cultivation.
Under the agreement, Bayer will provide access to Bayer-owned genetic materials (hybrids), seed and drone technologies, as well as in-kind activities for DSRC research and testing.
Other agriculture initiatives
Also providing economic stability for farmers is a new agriculture certification structure, Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC). As Environmental Leader reported just yesterday, the new structure will help ensure soil health and ecological land management, model pasture-based animal welfare, create resilient regional ecosystems and communities, and provide economic stability for farmers and ranchers, the founding coalition hopes. ROC is being launched later this year by the Regenerative Organic Alliance, a coalition of organizations and businesses including Patagonia, Horizon Organic, Dr. Bronner’s, Rodale Institute, Grain Place Foods, White Oak Pastures, and more. It was created to “model an ecological and ethical system for agricultural production that addresses the problems of factory farming, climate change, and economic injustice, locally and globally,” the alliance states. Certification will also, over time, increase carbon capture in soil.
Only products that are certified under the USDA organic program are eligible to meet the ROC criteria.