Bayer, the German biotech giant, has revealed its innovative direct-seeded rice cultivation system. This groundbreaking system is designed to assist farmers in reducing water consumption by 40%, emissions by 45%, and reliance on manual labor by almost 50%.
Revolutionizing Rice Farming
Traditionally, rice farmers follow a two-step process: growing seedlings in nurseries and then transplanting them into plowed, leveled, and flooded paddy fields. However, Bayer’s climate-resilient rice hybrids allow for direct seeding in the soil. These hybrids are specifically bred to thrive in various farm environments, resulting in higher yields.
A Sustainable Solution
Bayer’s new cultivation system aligns with their commitment to regenerative agriculture. By adopting this method, farmers can increase their productivity while simultaneously restoring the environment. Bayer predicts that by 2040, approximately 75% of India’s rice fields will transition to this innovative approach. Currently, only about 11% of rice fields in India utilize direct seeding.
Expanding the Reach
By 2030, Bayer plans to implement their direct-seeded rice system across 2.5 million acres in India. This initiative will support over 2 million early adopter smallholder farmers through the DirectAcres program. Furthermore, farmers will have access to Bayer’s digital platform, FarmRise. This platform offers advisory services, equipment support, and connects smallholders to Bayer’s Carbon Program. As farmers reduce emissions, they have the opportunity to earn additional income.
A Regional Rollout
In addition to India, Bayer intends to introduce the DirectAcres program in other Asian-Pacific countries. The Philippines is set to be the first country in the region to benefit from this innovative system in 2024.
Addressing Environmental Impact
Rice production significantly contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 1.5% of the total. Additionally, it is responsible for 12% of methane emissions and consumes 43% of the world’s total irrigation water. Bayer’s direct-seeded rice system aims to tackle these environmental challenges head-on.
World Food Day Launch
Bayer launched its DSR system on World Food Day during the sixth International Rice Congress held in Manila. The company is paving the way for sustainable rice farming practices and leading the industry in reducing its environmental impact.