How agroecological rice intensification can assist in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals


The UN Development Program has set forth a roster of

sustainable development goals (SDGs) for eradicating hunger

and poverty with other consequential targets also to be achieved

by 2030. Agroecological production strategies can help

accomplish about half of these goals, especially SDG #2 (zero

hunger) and SDG #12 (action for climate), utilizing biological

processes and potentials that already exist in crop plants and in

the soil systems they grow in. These potentials are not

mobilized by chemical-dependent practices that create hazards

for the environment and human health. An agroecological

strategy, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), has

demonstrated that it can raise rice production by 25–50%, and in

some cases more than 50% while lowering production costs and

raising farmer incomes. Higher yield is achieved by using 25–

50% less water, and SRI practices reduce net emission of

greenhouse gases from paddy fields, while reducing crops’

vulnerability to the hazards of climate change. The advantages of

SRI methods are being extended also to crops beyond rice, like

wheat, millet, and sugarcane. SRI practices contribute to

achieving other SDGs beyond reducing hunger and poverty.

Government initiatives plus investments by donors can extend

research and extension for SRI and other agroecological

methodologies that enable growers to help achieve multiple

SDGs in the next decade.

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