Rice is a staple in the diets of over 3 billion people around the globe. But when it comes to being eco-friendly, the traditional means of growing and cultivation hasn’t always been so friendly to the environment. This is because flooded rice paddies are perfect environments for methane-producing microbes to flourish. Cultivation of rice can cause up to 10 percent of agricultural greenhouse gases and up to 19 percent of global methane emissions through methanogenesis.

With more attention and investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rice cultivation is changing. New methods of growing and cultivating are making rice a more sustainable food.

System of Rice Intensification

An improved system for Sustainable Rice Cultivation (SRI) was developed during 1980s. This system is now used by almost 5 million farmers around the world. SRI has improved farmers’ yields between 50 to 100 percent higher than if they used conventional means of rice production. Farmers are able to cut their seed use by 80 to 90 percent, while cutting down water use by almost half.

How Rice is Made More Sustainable

There are four techniques that help improve rice production and reduce methane emissions:

1. Draining water mid-season and improving aerobic conditions by alternate wetting and drying.

2. Improved application of nutrients to improve yields, but also reduce methane emissions.

3. Using rice varieties that use less water and prefer aerobic environments.

4. Planting seedlings further apart without tilling the ground, to maintain soil stability

Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill® menus include a variety of rice bowls that are tempting to eco-conscious diners. And with more restaurant-goers wanting to know about food sourcing and sustainability, now you’re prepared to answer tough quiz questions about where rice comes from. Find out more about taking the first steps to owning your own Samurai Sam’s franchise.

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