Rice-Paddy Methane Reduction Project Receives J-Credit Scheme Approval

Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation’s (MC) application to have its Rice-paddy methane-reduction project registered under Japan’s J-Credit Scheme has been approved by the certification committee of the J-Credit Scheme.

The project, which aims to reduce rice-paddy methane emissions by prolonging mid-season drainage periods, is one of MC’s decarbonisation initiatives.

Methane from rice paddies accounts for roughly 40% of all methane emissions in Japan. In May 2021, the country’s Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries launched its MIDORI strategy for sustainable food systems, which aims to address a wide range of challenges facing Japan’s agricultural sector. One such challenge is the reduction of its methane emissions.

Methane is produced in rice paddies when bacteria in the soil breaks down organic material like rice straw and fertilizer, however, it can be reduced by removing water from the paddies, which inhibits the bacterial activity.

Studies have shown that by prolonging the mid-season drainage periods during wet-land rice cultivation by seven days, methane emissions from the paddies can be reduced by as much as 30%.

The objectives of MC’s project are to monitor efforts by rice growers to reduce methane emissions in this manner, calculate their reduction amounts and manage the procedure to register certification of credit. This provides growers with an additional source of revenue, as the credits they earn commensurate to their reductions can be exchanged for monetary compensation.

The monitoring work will entail the construction of a support system designed to improve efficiency, taking advantage of systems like Agri-note, which was developed by MC Group company WaterCell Inc. MC will also leverage the project to distribute rice produced by growers who are making genuine efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, thus incentivizing farmers to be more conscious about and active in that area.

Work with cooperating growers will commence this fiscal year in some parts of the country. The hope is that over time, more growers, businesses and other interests throughout Japan’s nationwide agricultural sector will be encouraged to take part in the project.

MC’s intention with this project is to refine its activities throughout the agricultural-products supply chain, including the distribution of rice and provision of farming support systems. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating economic value, it promises to help decarbonise Japanese agriculture and invigorate regional communities.