VNV Transforms Rice Cultivation with TraceX Sustainability and Carbon Management Solutions

Problem: 

VNV Advisory faced significant challenges in the rice cultivation sector, including the lack of effective tracking of sustainable practices, issues with data collection accuracy, and environmental concerns associated with traditional cultivation methods. 

 

Solution: 

Through a TraceX’s Digital MRV Platform, VNV Advisory found a transformative solution to these challenges. TraceX provided a comprehensive platform for tracking sustainable practices, ensuring accurate data collection, and addressing environmental issues in rice cultivation. 

 

Benefit: 

The collaboration with TraceX enabled VNV Advisory to overcome hurdles in the sector and drive impactful change. By implementing TraceX solutions, VNV improved tracking of sustainable practices, enhanced data accuracy, and mitigated environmental concerns, leading to more efficient and environmentally friendly rice cultivation practices. 

food traceability, food supply chain

India, with its burgeoning population, faces the challenge of meeting the rising demand for the staple crop: rice. India, boasting the world’s largest rice-cultivated area, is currently grappling with a water crisis. To meet the rising demand, there’s a pressing need for practices that enhance rice yield and productivity while optimizing resources. 

Rice irrigation alone consumes an estimated 24-30% of the world’s accessible freshwater resources. According to the International Water Management Institute, around 20% of irrigated rice lowlands could face water scarcity by 2025. 

Furthermore, India’s extensive rice cultivation is exacerbating the water crisis, with irrigated rice production being a significant contributor to the greenhouse gas methane (CH4). 

However, conventional rice cultivation practices, coupled with a looming water crisis and environmental concerns, necessitate a shift towards more sustainable approaches. In response to these challenges, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) program, featuring the innovative Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) method, is making strides in India. 

About the Organization

VNV Advisory, a leading agricultural advisory firm, grappled with the pervasive challenges in the sector, including the need for tracking of sustainable practices, data collection and accuracy, and the pressing environmental issues associated with traditional rice cultivation. The partnership with TraceX solutions emerged as a game-changer, addressing pain points and driving impactful change. 

Project Objectives

The project’s objective is to introduce water-saving technology, Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD), in the irrigated rice fields of smallholder farmers in the climate-vulnerable district of Gadchiroli, located in the state of Maharashtra, central India. Gadchiroli is identified as one of the districts where the living standards of the population are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change, with a projected 11.1% decrease according to a World Bank study. Currently, smallholder farmers in the region employ continuous flooding (CF) on their rice paddies, and the project aims to transition them to AWD practices.  

Research in other areas indicates that the adoption of AWD could lead to water savings of up to 15-20% without negatively affecting crop yields. 

The project’s goal is to diminish methane emissions from irrigated rice paddies by adopting alternate wetting and drying techniques, transitioning from continuous to intermittent flooding. This shift not only reduces methane production but also leads to a substantial decrease in water usage. Additionally, the project seeks to equip participating farmers with an effective set of practices to enhance paddy cultivation in the region. 

The project is implemented on privately held landholding of small and marginal farmers in the district of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. The lands are traditionally under paddy cultivation. The project activity is to reduce water consumption in irrigated paddies. The participating farmers are organised into farmer groups and allocate eligible plots for the project. Contracts are signed between the Project developers and the farmer groups.

Challenges faced By the Project Developers

  • Many agricultural projects involve smallholder farmers with fragmented land holdings. Aggregating these small plots into meaningful carbon projects can be complex. 
  • Gathering accurate and comprehensive data on individual farmers, their land holdings, and agricultural practices can be challenging. 
  • Overlapping farm boundaries may result in duplicated data, leading to inaccuracies in carbon accounting and project evaluation. 
  • Data Collection can be time consuming and resource intensive. 
  • Tracking of irrigation schedules can be cumbersome and inaccurate. 
  • Network connectivity challenges for collection of data through mobile apps. 
  • Continuous monitoring and reporting of activities is challenging. 
  • Training and Technical support to farmers. 
  • Scalability of Projects 

Implementing TraceX Solutions

VNV, through the implementation of TraceX solutions, embarked on a comprehensive journey to enhance their agricultural practices, specifically focusing on the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) activities. 

Farm Management 

Digitization of Farm Data 

The first step involved the digitalization of farm activities. TraceGro, the pre-harvest module streamlines and centralize data related to farm operations. 

  • Configuration of Blocs and SHGs 
  • Onboarding of Farmers and Farmer Profiling 
  • Geo-plotting of farm plots 
  • Crop Configuration 
  • Package of Practices 
  • Configuration of irrigation Practices 

Capturing of Baseline Data 

  • Initial conditions of the fields 
  • Water Usage 
  • Farming Practices 

AWD Implementation 

  • Configuration of Irrigation Practices 
  • Configuration of Irrigation Activities and Status 
  • Real-time monitoring of Irrigation practices. 
  • Tracking changes in water usage and Impact on crop yields. 

Monitoring, Reporting and Verification 

  • Continuous Monitoring of AWD practices(flooded/drained) periods 
  • Monitoring of Safe AWD levels. 
  • Automated reporting on Water consumption, crop health and impact on emissions. 
  • Transparent and Audit ready records of AWD implementation to VVBs. 

Project Impacts

Sustainability and Carbon Management Solutions

Growing populations are placing undue pressure on an already scarce resource-water. 

The project seeks to reduce emission of methane and reduce water consumption in cultivation of rice through the adoption of alternate wetting and drying, wherein, the field is drained of water once or on multiple occasions though the cropping season. Care is taken to ensure that there is no negative impact on the yield. Efficient water utilisation and a public awareness on importance of its conservation is needed. In the future it will minimize the effects of drought and water shortages, guarding against rising costs and political conflict. The farmers are organised into farmer groups for the purpose of this project, this kind of organisation benefits the farmers and enables them to leverage access to credit and other schemes. 

Therefore, the main benefits are: 

  1. Reduced water consumption or increased water savings 
  2. Reduced irrigation costs (electricity or fuel) 
  3. Community Organisation 

Sustainable Development Goals

The Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) practice in rice cultivation contributes to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing environmental, economic, and social dimensions. Here’s how AWD aligns with specific SDGs: 

SDG2- Zero Hunger: AWD helps improve rice yield and productivity, contributing to food security and the goal of ending hunger. 

SDG 6Clean Water and Sanitation: AWD reduces water consumption in rice paddies, promoting efficient water use and contributing to sustainable water management. 

SDG12- Responsible Consumption and production: AWD promotes sustainable agricultural practices, aligning with goals related to responsible consumption and the efficient use of resources. 

SDG13- Climate Action: By reducing methane emissions associated with continuous flooding, AWD contributes to climate change mitigation, aligning with goals related to sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation. 

Key Takeaways

  • Comprehensive Farm Management: TraceX provides VNV with an end-to-end solution for farm management, covering aspects such as baseline establishment, implementation of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) techniques, and robust monitoring processes. 
  • Baseline Establishment: VNV utilizes TraceX to establish baselines for sustainable agriculture practices, enabling them to measure progress and track improvements over time accurately. 
  • Implementation of AWD Techniques: With TraceX, VNV efficiently implements AWD techniques, optimizing water usage in rice cultivation and promoting sustainable water management practices. 
  • Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification: TraceX facilitates robust monitoring, reporting, and verification processes, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and providing transparent documentation of sustainability efforts. 
  • Enhanced Efficiency: The integration of TraceX enhances VNV’s efficiency in managing sustainable agriculture initiatives, streamlining processes, and improving resource utilization. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: By leveraging TraceX, VNV ensures compliance with regulatory standards and requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties and fostering trust with stakeholders. 
  • Contribution to Sustainability: Through TraceX, VNV contributes to a more sustainable agricultural ecosystem by implementing best practices, reducing environmental impact, and promoting transparency throughout the supply chain. 

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