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May 2024

Rize secures US$14M in funding to advance sustainable rice farming

Rize secures $14M in Series A funding to expand its sustainable rice farming technology across Asia, aiming to reduce methane emissions and increase farmer incomes.

Rize, an innovative agritech company, announced today that it has successfully closed a US$14 million Series A funding round. The investment will enhance the company’s Measuring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) technology and expand its operations across South and Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and Vietnam. This round of funding was jointly led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, GenZero, Temasek, and Wavemaker Impact.

Transforming rice cultivation for climate resilience

Rize focuses on modernising rice farming through technology and expert advice. It targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which notably include methane, which is responsible for over 10% of global output. The platform captures essential agricultural data, helping farmers implement sustainable practices that boost climate resilience, increase yields, and lower costs.

Dhruv Sawhney, CEO of Rize, highlighted the challenges of methane emissions and water-intensive practices in traditional rice farming. “We are confronted with the challenges of addressing the high levels of methane emissions and the water-intensive practices prevalent in rice farming, which accounts for 10% of global methane emissions, a figure that is set to rise if unchecked,” he stated. “Our technology stack seeks to tackle these challenges. By doing so, we are not just aiming to cut down 100 million tonnes of carbon emissions, we are also enhancing the economic stability of farmers, ensuring that improved farmer livelihoods and reduced emissions go hand-in-hand.”

Innovations in farming techniques and data analysis

Rize employs a variety of new farming methods to reduce methane emissions and water use. Techniques such as Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) and Direct Seeding Rice (DSR) require less water and reduce methane production without sacrificing crop yields. The company’s technology supports its agronomists in efficiently gathering data on farm performance, which is critical for scaling sustainable farming and improving farmer finances.

The agritech firm is also experimenting with biological farming inputs, seed treatments, and climate-resilient rice varieties, further driving advancements in sustainable agriculture. These efforts are designed to lessen the economic and operational challenges smallholder farmers face, such as high input costs and the impact of climate change.

Expanding reach and empowering sustainable growth

The recent funding will allow Rize to deepen its operational footprint in Indonesia and Vietnam and aims to expand its team of agronomists to over 100 by the end of 2024. This expansion is expected to impact over 20,000 farmers and extend further into other rice-producing regions in 2025.

This season, Rize is set to improve 7,000 hectares of rice farming. The anticipated results include a 50% reduction in emissions, 20% less water usage, and up to a 30% increase in farmer incomes. These initiatives underline the viability and attractiveness of sustainable rice farming.

“Our platform, and the data it captures, is pivotal in modernising rice farming, leveraging technology to sustainably enhance yield and efficiency,” Sawhney added. With global rice demand set to double by 2050, the urgency for adopting sustainable methods is increasingly critical.

Carmichael Roberts from Breakthrough Energy Ventures expressed optimism about Rize’s approach, noting, “Rize’s data-driven technology and expert team of agronomists are a powerful combination for tackling the environmental impact of rice cultivation and scaling viable sustainable rice farming globally.”

Marie Cheong, Founding Partner at Wavemaker Impact, also reaffirmed their support. “We are proud to continue our investment in Rize. The outcomes that Rize achieved in the last 18 months is testament to the robustness of its collective value proposition and business model,” she said. “With this round of capital injection, we have every confidence in Dhruv and team to scale the adoption of sustainable farming techniques across the region, scaling the impact of decarbonisation and livelihood improvement of smallholder farms.” QR Code

Published Date: May 10, 2024

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