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A New Farming Technique Using Drastically Less Water Is Catching On

Filipino melon grower Denis Miguel was intrigued to hear of a young Indian farmer who in 2011 had broken the world record for growing rice by using an unconventional method of cultivation that needed only half as much water and one-tenth as many seeds but resulted in spectacular yield increases.

Miguel, from Isabela province, had never grown rice before, but he teamed up with a local rice farmer to try out the system. Last year, he reaped the equivalent of 10.8 tons of rice per hectare, or four times as much rice as the farmer usually grew on that land.

He was astonished. “A harvest of 10.8 tons per hectare on a rain-fed farm which used to produce only 2.5 tons was a great success. I was a newbie rice farmer. It was my first attempt at rice farming. It was an eye opener to all the people who were witness,” he said in an email.

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