Hong Kong, SAR - Nov 28, 2023
Like rice crops in other regions, Indonesian paddy fields face persistent challenges from pests and diseases, threatening precious yield. The Brown Planthopper, Rice Hispa, and Gall Midge wreak havoc on rice plants, causing significant damage. The vicious circle of monocultural rice production using chemical fertilizer and pest control increases biodiversity loss, disease risks, and loss of crops. Now, here come the heroes of the story - ducks! These natural pest controllers fend off insects and act as soil superheroes, enriching the land with nutrients while rendering chemical pesticides obsolete.
Zero Foodprint Asia’s Restore grant has funded a collaborative project with reNature to support regenerative rice production in Bali's Astungkara Way farming community, which commenced in January 2023. The Restore grant is funded through ZFPA’s 1% pledge program by restaurant partners such as the Cruise and The Farmhouse at the Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour and Roganic Hong Kong. It empowers initiatives like this to scale up land regeneration efforts across Asia. In addition to increasing above and below-ground biodiversity, improving farmers’ livelihoods, and future-proofing Balinese rice paddies to become more climate resilient, the aim is to sequester an estimated 48.4 tons of carbon per hectare, totaling 4162.4 tons over seven years.
Regenerative agriculture, at its core, focuses on ecosystem health, soil fertility, and biodiversity. This project embodies sustainable practices such as minimal soil disturbance, cover cropping, crop rotation, and the integration of ducks for natural pest control.
Rice & Ducks: A Winning Combination
Indonesian rice fields face various pests and diseases, threatening yields. Ducks, acting as natural pest controllers, significantly reduce the need for chemical pesticides, promoting healthier rice production. Their droppings act as a natural fertilizer, enhancing soil fertility and reducing reliance on synthetic alternatives.
The collaboration between the partners promotes environmentally friendly and economically sustainable regenerative rice farming. This innovative approach showcases how harnessing natural processes can improve yields, reduce environmental harm, and ensure long-term food security in the local communities and beyond.
Unique Features of Regenerative Rice
These rice paddies embrace nature, fostering increased biodiversity.
Unlike traditional rice farming, this rice receives zero chemical inputs.
Regenerative practices yield 1.2 times more, providing increased income for farmers.
The ducks on the farm contribute additional income, replacing costly pesticides.
The role of F&B, Hospitality and Big Businesses
To create a more equitable food system that can feed a growing population without further exploiting the planet, there needs to be a shift towards the collective management of resources. The participation of corporations will be critical to providing the necessary funding to innovate and leverage economies of scale, which will help achieve productivity, resilience, and prevention of further degradation of our planet’s natural resources.
Frameworks like the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) are improving accountability, guiding businesses to shift capital flows toward nature-positive outcomes and long-term value creation.
About the Partners
Zero Foodprint Asia (ZFPA)
As the Asia arm of the global charity Zero Foodprint, ZFPA crowdfunds from member food businesses such as restaurants, bars, and food retailers through a 1% pledge surcharge, which is then granted to smallholder farmers to adopt regenerative carbon farming practices in the region. Since June 2021, ZFPA has raised over USD 420,000 via 90+ food businesses and donors and has funded 16 projects across HK, GBA, and Bali. ZFPA’s table-to-farm model helps make climate action part of the ‘new’ business-as-usual.
Astungkara Way connects humans with nature and draws them closer to the source of their food. We work with local farming communities to transition from chemical farming back to natural cultivation methods that result in the restoration of ecosystems, food security, and resilient local communities.
Dedicated to supporting the transition to regenerative agriculture, reNature works across the agricultural supply chain, designing model farms, and training farmers globally to regenerate 100 million hectares of land by 2035.
For more information about the project, head to https://www.zerofoodprintasia.org/introducing-regenerative-rice
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