Netafim Transforms Rice Production Into a Sustainable Business Model in Japan

Israeli agri-tech leader implements their drip Irrigation Solution to transform Japan’s rice industry

Netafim, an Israeli agri-tech company and pioneer of precision irrigation systems that provide stable water and nutrition to crops in agriculture, has started an introductory project of rice cultivation in dry fields using drip irrigation. The system reduces waste of water and fertilizer, and encourages a shift to sustainable production that reduces methane gas emissions.

Netafim Japan has introduced drip irrigation to the cultivation of rice in dry fields at two sites in Gojome-town, Akita Prefecture and Tomi-city, Nagano Prefecture. In an effort to maximize the efficiency of limited resources, Netafim has taken the first step to shift to sustainable rice production by reducing the waste of water and fertilizer through irrigation and fertilization using a drip irrigation system, reducing the generation of methane gas to near zero, which has a greenhouse effect 28 times*1 that of carbon dioxide – an issue in rice cultivation in paddy fields. This step undertaken by Netafim Japan is the first toward the realization of sustainable rice production.

With the drip irrigation system, the soil is not watered, but rather irrigated with drip tubes placed on dry soil, which significantly reduces the generation of methane gas as the soil is constantly exposed to the air. In addition to reducing the burden on the global environment, benefits of precision-managed agriculture using drip tubes include the effective use of water and fertilizer and the reduction of labor.

While prolonging the drying-out period has been recommended as a method to control methane gas, drip irrigation also aims to solve problems inherent in conventional agriculture by drastically changing the cultivation method.

Why introduce drip irrigation for rice in Japan?

Surrounded by the sea and with many rivers, Japan has an image of being blessed with water resources, but changes in climate have caused serious damage to agriculture. Recent droughts and sudden heavy rains have adversely affected the soil. In addition, a large amount of labor is needed for the management of agricultural canals, such as opening, closing, and adjusting sluice gates.

Netafim is the world’s largest irrigation company and the global leader in precision irrigation solutions committed to fighting scarcity of food, water, and land, for a sustainable future.

To address and tackle the effects of these changes, it is necessary to introduce a system of precise management and conservation of resources, using drip irrigation, which provides the minimum amount of water and fertilizer when needed.

Drip irrigation systems have been introduced for all kinds of crops in Japan, in the greenhouse, for growing fruits, and in open field cultivation, but this is Netafim Japan’s first introduction of drip irrigation in the rice cultivation field for paddy rice varieties.

Paddy fields occupy more than half of Japan’s farmland and the introduction of precision irrigation will reduce the environmental impact and help to mitigate the effects of climate change on Japan’s agriculture. Netafim Japan is committed to bring its slogan, “Grow more with less,” to the Japanese agriculture industry by solving problems and improving the food production environment.

About Netafim

Netafim is the world’s largest irrigation company and the global leader in precision irrigation solutions committed to fighting scarcity of food, water, and land, for a sustainable future. With 33 subsidiaries and 17 manufacturing plants worldwide, Netafim offers innovative, tailor-made irrigation and fertigation solutions to millions of farmers from smallholders to large-scale agricultural producers, in over 110 countries.

Founded in 1965, Netafim pioneered the drip revolution, creating a paradigm shift toward precision irrigation. Today, the company specializes in end-to-end solutions from the water source to the root zone, and offers a variety of irrigation, open field and greenhouse projects, as well as landscaping and mining solutions supported by engineering, project management and financing services. Netafim also leads the way in digital farming, having integrated real-time monitoring, analysis, and automated control into one state-of-the-art system.

In 2017, Orbia, a global leader in specialty products and innovative solutions, acquired 80% of Netafim, while Kibbutz Hatzerim holds the remaining 20%. As a parent company, Orbia is a community of companies bound by a shared purpose: to advance life around the world. The Orbia companies have a collective focus on ensuring food security, reducing water scarcity, reinventing the future of cities and homes, connecting communities to data infrastructure, and expanding access to health and wellness with basic and advanced materials and solutions.

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