Mitti Labs launches five projects in South Asia, transforming rice farming to slash methane emissions and water

• Rice farming emits close to 1,000,000,000 tonnes (1Gt) of CO2e each year – equivalent to all global air travel • New project developer Mitti Labs, backed by leading climate VCs, seeks to reduce methane emissions from rice farming by 50%, as well as water consumption by 30% • The company has launched its first five major projects across India, spanning a total of 30,000 hectares and aiming to reduce emissions by 120,000 tonnes of CO2e • It is collaborating with Syngenta Foundation and Ebro Foods, parent company behind Tilda, to train 40,000 farmers in new agricultural techniques and drastically improve their livelihoods

LONDON & NEW YORK, 20 June 2024: Mitti Labs, a pioneering tech-enabled project developer, has announced the initiation of its first projects aimed at transforming rice farming in South Asia. Working alongside the Syngenta Foundation, Ebro Foods and Dr Reddy's Foundation, the company has launched five rice projects across India which will reduce methane emissions, increase water security and build farmer resilience.

Mitti Lab's first five projects will cover 30,000 hectares and will deliver an annual reduction of 120,000 metric tonnes of CO2e emissions. The emissions reduction will generate high-quality credits that help to diversify credit buyers' portfolios, as well as making a significant positive impact on water scarcity and farmer livelihoods within the region. The company's projects are expected to expand to cover 200,000 hectares over the next two years.

To deliver these projects, Mitti Labs is working alongside more than 40,000 smallholder farmers to embed and measure more sustainable agricultural practices. Alongside the environmental benefits of the projects, the work will increase the financial resilience of participating rice farmers, who earn the majority of revenue from each carbon credit sold, increasing their annual incomes by up to 30%.

Rice is the largest agricultural emitter

Rice sustains billions of people around the world, and demand for this staple crop is rapidly rising to sustain population growth in South and Southeast Asia. Yet its traditional cultivation methods release substantial amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. Rice accounts for 12% of all agricultural emissions - the largest contributor and equivalent to the total emissions of all global air travel. At the same time rice farming uses over a quarter of global freshwater supplies, with current farming techniques significantly contributing to water scarcity.

India is the world's second largest rice producer, but the country faces significant threats to the livelihoods of rice farmers from the effects of climate change. Mitti Labs launched in India to tackle this. The company's 120-person operations team works with on-the-ground community partners to activate grassroots networks and train participating farmers in new agricultural techniques that can reduce methane emissions by 50% and water consumption by 30%.

The successful launch of Mitti Labs' first five projects is just the start. The company has 10 more projects in the pipeline and, by the end of 2025, plans to mitigate 360,000 tonnes of CO2e per year whilst expanding geographically across Southeast Asia. This ambitious strategy will be supported by a planned funding round in early 2025.

Emissions credits that buyers can trust

Backed by leading VC investors Lightspeed and Voyager, with early support from Harvard Innovation Labs, Mitti Labs is setting a new quality standard for rice methane projects.

The company's Digital Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (dMRV) technology ensures rigorous verification of project impact, enabling buyers to purchase carbon credits with confidence. The business has deployed cutting-edge AI models trained on ground data and remote sensing to accurately measure climate impact.

This is underpinned by its collaborations with leading academic and research partners, including Cornell University, the International Rice Research Institute, and the US Department of Agriculture, to advance measurement practices around methane abatement.

Xavi Laguarta, co-founder at Mitti Labs, commented: "We embarked on this journey with the belief that every climate problem is a climate solution. Our goal is to transform traditional rice farming, changing both the environmental footprint of rice and the lives of farmers who are already battling extreme climate-induced drought. We can't ignore methane in the quest for net zero, and this means driving finance straight to the source, to help farmers adapt their agricultural techniques to a changing climate. We're working closely with farmers and partner organizations to build confidence in a new type of rice farming, and a new type of carbon credit."

Devdut Dalal, co-founder at Mitti Labs, commented: "Our projects are a major step towards a more sustainable and resilient future for a critical crop in India. By leveraging our partners' existing community networks, we are not only reducing emissions but also changing farmers' lives with additional revenue streams and building an agricultural landscape in India that can thrive despite the climate challenges ahead."

Hemant Mohapatra, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said: "The potential for change in global rice farming is immense. Not only is it a leading contributor to methane emissions, it is an industry at risk due to climate change. We believe Mitti Labs' innovative, tech-driven approach is set to be a game-changer in the fight against methane emissions, and we are excited about the potential for scaling its model across India and beyond."

About Mitti Labs
Mitti Labs is a tech-enabled project developer working to reduce methane emissions, increase water security and build farmer resilience. Our cutting-edge technology verifies project impact, enabling buyers to purchase with confidence and diversify their portfolios with a new type of carbon credit. We are backed by leading VC investors and are collaborating with global agriculture businesses and philanthropic organisations, such as the Syngenta Foundation, Ebro Foods and Dr Reddy's Foundation, to scale our projects across India.

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