For starters, growing rice in flooded paddies contributes an estimated 12% of global emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is driving global climate change.Meanwhile, rice cultivation also requires anywhere between 30% and 40% of the planet’s fresh water, which can place great strains on already depleted sources in more arid regions.

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Not only is plenty of freshwaters saved in the process but methane emission also goes down to zero as growing switches from anaerobic to aerobic, according to the company, which took a decade to hone its new drip-irrigation method, including the best way to plant, water and fertilize rice.

An initial investment of pipes, pumps and filters can be pricey for farmers, but over the long term, the shift away from flooding can yield great benefits for them, especially in arid regions where freshwater is a prized commodity already in short supply.

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If applied on a large  scale, the new drip irrigation technique could come with enormous benefits, particularly because demand for rice is expected to rise by 25% in just three decades, experts say.