About Regeneration

Regeneration means putting life at the center of every action and decision.

The Book


Who We Are

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you, please send us a note!

Dig Deeper

Cascade of Solutions

Explore regenerative solutions and see how they are all connected.

Frameworks for Action

Six priorities: Equity. Reduce. Protect. Sequester. Influence. Support.

Where to Begin

Make a Punch List

A punch list is a personal, group, or institutional checklist of actions that you can, want to, and will do.

Carbon Calculator

Estimate the current carbon impact of your family, company, or building.

The Waggle

Our weekly newsletter filled with compelling stories about regenerating life on Earth.

Support Our Work

Donate Today

We rely upon the generous support of our fellow regenerators! Please consider making a one-time or recurring donation.

Drone view of rice terrace field in Vietnam.

Top view from drone of green rice terrace field at mu cang chai, Vietnam.

Credit: ImpossiAble / Getty Images

System of Rice Intensification

Call to action:

Transition to regenerative rice cultivation practices to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce chemical inputs, conserve water, and increase yields.

Rice is a staple crop for half the earth's population and is grown on more than a tenth of all arable land. More poor people depend on rice for food and income than any other crop. It is the foundation of culturally important dishes globally, from Japan to India to Brazil. However, conventional rice cultivation has major environmental impacts. Rice is grown by flooding paddies, which is wasteful of water and requires fossil fuel–based fertilizers and other chemicals to maintain yields, causing pollution. Microbes in flooded paddies generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Rice production accounts for 12 percent of all methane emissions globally and 2.5 percent of all greenhouse gases. System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an agroecological alternative. It improves productivity by changing the management of plants, soil, and water, resulting in higher yields and fewer inputs. SRI can be implemented by any farmer. It lowers methane emissions, creates better resilience to weather extremes, and improves livelihoods. Financial investment and training for farmers are necessary to accelerate the adoption of SRI globally.

Action Items


Learn about the challenges associated with conventional rice production and why SRI is a solution. The practice of flooding rice paddies is thousands of years old and is a way to control weeds. In addition to being a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, conventional rice farming uses 10 percent of all synthetic nitrogen fertilizers globally, contributing to pollution. SRI is based on agroecological principles (see Agroecology Nexus). Although rice is a semiaquatic plant, it does not need continuous flooding. Instead, SRI (1) enriches soil with organic matter, such as manure or compost, rather than synthetic fertilizers; (2) spaces rice seedlings further apart, which strengthens roots; (3) applies water intermittently rather than continuously flooding; (4) uses manual weeders; and (5) applies natural pest management rather than toxic chemicals. Since its development in Madagascar in the 1980s, SRI techniques have been adopted in sixty countries. The benefits of SRI include:

Support growers by purchasing rice with a certification. Consumers have the power to let farmers know that their regeneratively grown rice is in high demand in the market. This can incentivize more farmers to make the transition to growing SRI rice.



Learn the principles and techniques of the System of Rice Intensification. SRI methodologies are based on the understanding that rice does not need a flooded field to grow. SRI requires no additional investment in inputs and machinery, and site-specific and farmer-specific adaptations make SRI adoption affordable to small-scale rice farmers. The four foundations of SRI rice are:

Learn about the benefits of growing SRI rice. Practiced by millions of farmers around the world, SRI yields 50–100 percent more rice than conventional methods. The increased yield reduces the need for land clearing for new rice cultivation in order to maintain profitability. Seed use drops by 80–90 percent and water inputs by 25–50 percent. Labor requirements are lower once techniques have been integrated. Other benefits include:

Implement SRI rice production. There are a number of guides and manuals on how to implement SRI where you live. Here is an overview of general principles. Here is an overall report on SRI from Oxfam. Instruction manuals in different languages are available from the SRI International Network and Resource Center at Cornell University (see Learn/Books below for more info). You can also contact NGOs in your region for support (see Key Players). Other resources:

  • Here is a guideline for tropical countries.
  • Here is a case study from Mali.
  • Here is a case study from Vietnam.
  • Here is a technical manual for SRI in West Africa.
  • Here are more case studies from the SRI International Network and Resource Center.
  • Here is a list of how-to books on SRI.


Collaborate with farmers and offer training in SRI. NGOs have been a major force in helping farmers access resources and transition to SRI farming methods.  Learn from the NGOs listed in the Key Players section who are leading projects like these:


Develop appropriate technology. In the transition from conventional paddy farming to SRI, farmers need different equipment for planting, weeding, and harvesting.


Support local farmers through investments, education, and training. Over fifty countries signed the Global Methane Pledge at COP26 in Glasgow, pledging to reduce global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Supporting and incentivizing farmers to acquire the knowledge and equipment to grow rice more sustainably is a vital step in lowering methane emissions.

  • Policies and support from the Ministry of Agriculture and other government bodies in India have empowered farmers to rapidly transition to SRI in the state of Tripura.
  • The USDA has pledged $90 million to develop more sustainable rice production in the United States, as well as to conduct research into the effectiveness of “Climate-Smart” rice production.
  • Thailand is supporting 100,000 farming families to transition to SRI in an effort to reduce their methane emissions by offering loans, grants, and subsidies. The project, called NAMA (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action), can serve as a model for any government. It focuses on three key aspects of the transition: training farmers, supporting the development of businesses focused on helping farmers manage their farms, and crafting policies to develop and implement standards for sustainable rice.
  • Vietnam has recognized that rice production is the most important aspect of its efforts to meet its pledge to reduce methane emissions. They have introduced 900,000 farmers to more sustainable techniques and aim to expand the program in the next five years.
  • As an incentive to adopt more climate-friendly practices, rice growers in the U.S. who voluntarily shift to practices that reduce methane and other greenhouse gas emissions can have those emissions quantified, third-party verified, and sold in California's Carbon Market.
  • Working with NGOs is key to spreading the benefits of SRI. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development worked with Oxfam in helping farmers transition to SRI production, increase family incomes, and helping to teach farmers how to train others in SRI methods.



The Craft of Sustainable Rice Farming from the Craftsmanship Initiative (22 min.)

Lotus Foods: The Story of Sustainable Rice from Heartland Stories Radio (29 min.)

Written by:

Share Your Knowledge

Your expertise and insights can help Nexus grow into a local and global resource. Please submit any information that you think others would find valuable, with links where relevant. Our team will review and infuse. Please include links, references, citations, suggestions and ideas.

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.