Applying fertilizers and pesticides manually renders rice production more laborious, expensive due to labor cost, and inefficient with the uneven fertilizer distribution pattern. To address these concerns, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed a mechanical fertilizer spreading system which ensures a uniform distribution of nutrient to rice crops in small- and large-scale farms. Using the mechanical fertilizer spreader, IRRI's post-harvest team measured up to 9% yield increase and less time spent in fertilizer application (manual application: 2 hours/hectare; mechanical fertilizer spreader: 1.3 hours/hectare). The yield increase and savings on labor imply more income for farmers and better productivity.
Improved and regulated fertilizer and pesticide application likewise contribute to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing wastes. It also protects operators and consumers from the potential hazards brought about by chemical use. All these benefits make rice production more environmentally and socially sustainable.