In Pakistan, where we source basmati rice, water has become scarcer over the past 20 years as the result of farming methods and climate change. Water has become an increasingly contentious issue because agriculture uses more than 90% of the country’s fresh water. Traditional rice-growing methods are particularly water-intensive and release a significant amount of GHGs into the atmosphere. Rice cultivation is estimated to be responsible for 10% of the world’s methane emissions. Together with our partners and supplier Galaxy Rice, we aim to promote the standards of the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), – a multi-stakeholder partnership set up by the United Nations.

How does change happen?

Galaxy Rice provide training in SRP techniques, and Westmill purchase the rice produced. The training is wide-ranging and benefits both farmers and their communities. It covers the use of water-saving technologies including land laser levelling and alternate wetting and drying, as well as other interconnected topics such as pesticide management, health and safety and agribusiness techniques

What has been achieved?

By the end of this year we have achieved the following results:

  • 6,500 tonnes of sustainable basmati rice has been purchased directly through the project from the 2020 crop
  • 25% reduction in water use
  • 20% increase in yields
  • 38% increase in net incomes
  • 48% reduction in GHG emissions

Looking ahead

After starting out with 600 farmers, the project has been expanded for another three years until 2024 to reach 1,200 farmers. We are now exploring the potential of replicating this approach in Thailand

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