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A Win-Win in Regenerative Rice

reNature’s Astungkara Way project in Bali, Indonesia, aims to revitalize local agriculture by establishing a Model Farm and Model School demonstrating regenerative practices. The project also engages Balinese youth, encouraging them to pursue careers in agriculture.

Key Objectives

Among the key objectives of the Astungkara Way project are to establish a Model Farm to showcase regenerative practices in rice and educate local farmers on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an innovative method for increasing rice yields while using fewer resources. Developed in the 1980s, SRI focuses on four main principles. It promotes the use of younger seedlings, usually 8-12 days old, which are more robust and have better growth potential than older ones traditionally used. SRI also involves optimizing plant spacing by planting seedlings singly with wider spacing, reducing competition for resources such as nutrients, sunlight, and water, leading to healthier plants and higher yields.

Improving soil fertility is another critical aspect of SRI, which emphasizes the use of organic fertilizers and maintaining aerobic soil conditions to support better root development and overall plant health. Additionally, SRI significantly reduces water usage by advocating for alternate wetting and drying methods rather than continuous flooding. This not only conserves water but also reduces methane emissions, a greenhouse gas associated with traditional flooded rice fields.

The benefits of SRI are considerable. It can lead to yield increases of up to 41% while reducing water usage by 25-50%. The approach also decreases the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, lowering production costs and minimizing environmental impact. Furthermore, SRI enhances the resilience of rice crops to climate change, making it a sustainable and effective option for farmers globally.

Training and Curriculum

The reNature team developed a curriculum designed to provide farmers in Bali with training on complex rice systems. The Astungkara Way team, having received training sessions from reNature experts, will utilize this curriculum to further train local farmers, ensuring the sustainable implementation of innovative rice cultivation techniques.

The curriculum covers essential topics for enhancing rice production, including nutrient management, the integration of ducks, fish, and legumes into rice farming, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), and effective weed and pest management strategies. By equipping the Astungkara Way team with this curriculum and the necessary training, the project aims to create a cascading effect of knowledge and skills transfer within the farming community. This will enable farmers in Bali to adopt advanced agricultural practices and sustainably enhance their rice production.

Support and Collaboration

This project is made possible through the support of Zero Foodprint Asia, a highly respected charitable organization. ZFPA is dedicated to mobilizing the food industry to support agricultural climate solutions. The organization’s participating businesses contribute 1% of their revenue to initiatives that help smallholder farmers adopt regenerative practices, enhance soil health, increase biodiversity, and improve food quality while combating climate change. This significant support underscores the credibility and potential for success of the Astungkara Way project.

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