RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to Lotus Foods

February 11, 2013

RSF Social Finance is pleased to announce a new loan to Lotus Foods, an organic, fair-trade rice company. RSF financing will help Lotus Foods strengthen its relationships with rice growers and expand sales of its award winning products.

Lotus Foods, Inc. was founded in 1995 with a mission to support sustainable global agriculture by promoting production of traditional heirloom rice varieties, some of which may otherwise have become extinct, while enabling the small family rice farmers to earn an honorable living. Lotus Foods sources rice from countries like Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Madagascar, and sells products to natural food and specialty grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“Lotus Foods has an incredibly unique vision and commitment,” says Mike Gabriel, RSF Lending Manager. “They are seeking out rice farmers in developing countries and equipping them with the tools to establish a livelihood that helps preserve and regenerate the ecosystems in which they live.”

photo courtesy Lotus Foods

Lotus Foods works with growers who implement a sustainable rice-growing technique called System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which was pioneered in Madagascar and has spread globally; Cornell University has played a key role in promoting research and awareness of SRI.  The SRI methodology uses significantly less water than the conventional flooding methods used to harvest rice, and results in higher yields and the need for fewer inputs (e.g. water, seed, synthetic fertilizer and pesticide, and often labor).  Paddies cultivated using SRI methods also emit little or no methane compared with conventionally farmed rice paddies.

With global rice production consuming up to one third of the world’s annual freshwater supplies, SRI technology is catalyzing a rural transformation that can contribute to improved global food security, empower poor households, conserve water resources, and promote human and environmental health. Today, SRI is enabling some of the world’s most marginalized farmers to double their yields (or more) using 50% less water, 80-90% less seed, and no agrochemicals.

“We are delighted to join the community of RSF Social Finance borrowers,” says Caryl Levine, Lotus Foods co-founder and co-owner.  “They are a special community, aligned with our values and passion to change the world by the way we do business.”

About Lotus Foods

Established in 1995, Lotus Foods’ mission is to partner in fair trade with small family farmers around the world who are growing rice more sustainably and preserving rice biodiversity. The company’s intent and vision is not only to help rice farmers earn a living wage but to bring healthier rice choices to consumers. To learn more, visit www.lotusfoods.com.

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