Rize seeks to decarbonise rice cultivation in Asia with US$14M Series A raise

The Rize team

Rize, an agritech platform aiming to make sustainable rice cultivation viable through innovative and data-driven practices, has closed its USD$14 million Series A funding round.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, GenZero, Temasek, and Wavemaker Impact co-led the round.

This round will enhance Rize’s technology stack, including its measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) technology.

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The capital will also enable it to expand its operations deeper into Indonesia and Vietnam and help strengthen its team of agronomists to over 100 by the end of 2024, potentially reaching over 20,000 farmers. The firm also plans to expand into other rice-producing South and Southeast Asian countries in 2025.

Rize was formed through a joint venture between Temasek, Wavemaker Impact, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and GenZero to decarbonise rice cultivation in Asia. It is building a platform to identify and implement effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rice cultivation and the right economic incentives across the value chain to drive the adoption of sustainable cultivation techniques.

Its technology stack captures vital agricultural data essential for implementing sustainable farming practices, making rice farmers more climate resilient, increasing their crop yields, lowering costs, and facilitating efficient access to finance. Rize aims to eliminate 100 metric tonnes of carbon emissions while improving farmer livelihoods.

“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 per cent of global methane emissions, a figure that is set to rise if unchecked,” said Dhruv Sawhney, CEO of Rize.

“Another hurdle is the lack of precise data, particularly among the numerous smallholder farms across South and Southeast Asia, as well as the increasingly high cost of farming due to increased input prices and a changing climate. 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,” he added.

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Rize aims to improve over 7,000 hectares of rice farming this coming season. These initiatives are projected to lower emissions by 50 per cent, reduce water usage by 20 per cent, and increase farmer incomes by up to 30 per cent, making sustainable rice farming a viable and attractive option.

“Our platform, and the data it captures, is pivotal in modernising rice farming, leveraging technology to enhance yield and efficiency sustainably,” remarked Sawhney. “Given that producing a single bowl of rice requires over 200 litres of fresh water, and considering that the entire rice industry accounts for more than a third of the world’s irrigation water, the urgency to adopt sustainable methods is clear.”

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