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Israeli Drip Irrigation Emerges to Solve Rice Paddy Problem

An Israeli company has developed a drip irrigation system for growing rice to replace the flooded paddies that have supplied the world with rice for generations but cause a surprising level of damage to the environment.

Rice is the staple food for more than half the global population, but its cultivation uses 30-40% of the world’s freshwater and is responsible for 10% of manmade emissions of greenhouse gas methane, according to the U.N.-backed Sustainable Rice Platform.

Netafim, a company that pioneered drip irrigation decades ago to grow produce like potatoes and melons across Israel's challenging arid landscape, has just finished a pilot scheme using its technology on 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) of rice fields in locations from Europe to southern Asia.

At one such location, at La Fagiana farm in northeast Italy, two fields, side-by-side, grow high-quality rice for risotto. One is flooded, covered entirely by up to 15 cm of water to maintain temperatures and keep away weeds. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you keep supporting the people of Israel with wondrous innovations.”