Towards more sustainable management in rice cultivation
An initiative that brings together three countries with the purpose of obtain an efficient and competitive production with a lower environmental impact under the implementation of AWD technology in two levels (moderate and intensive) in rice crops.
Context of the story
Family growers (less than 10 hectares) in Colombia, Chile and Peru, whose livelihoods are based on rice production currently face a variety of challenges, one of the most pressing is the increase in climate variability and the consequent decrease in water availability during certain stages of the crop. On the other hand, the conventional practice of continuous flooding during cultivation results in rice systems that have a negative environmental consequences, not only because of the excessive use of water in the field, but also by the increased emissions of gases such as methane (CH4), which are related to the greenhouse effect.
How to reduce gas emissions and conserve water resources?
The implemented initiative
Through the project more rice with less emissions, the development of a technological innovation is proposed through small farmers will be able to maintain and even increase their yield, taking into account climate change mitigation, natural resource management and sustainability in the rice cultivation. Under these premises, the study is looking for locally validation to the implementation of Alternate Irrigation Technology - AWD, at two moderate and intensive levels generating benefits like a efficient and competitive production with a lower environmental impact under the, in rice crops on smallholder farms. from Colombia, Peru and Chile. This work is financed with resources provided by the IDB through the FONTAGRO platform and with recourse in Colombia of the National Federation of Rice FEDEARROZ, in Peru of the Universidad Agraria la Molina and in Chile by the Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA ). Under the regional cooperation initiative, it is proposed to transfer the practices and technologies that are generated as a result of the project.
A sustainable technological proposal
The technological solution
The practice of intermittent irrigation management, applying technologies to alternate humidity and drying (Alternate Wetting Drying AWD), can increase the efficiency of water use and at the same time reduce methane emissions without affecting performance. Within the framework of this project, three different localities are evaluated, Saldaña in Colombia, Ferreñafe in Peru and Parral in Chile. In the selected farms, experimental plots were established during the first two years, contrasting conventional irrigation management (control) with two AWD alternatives (AW1 humidity drop at 5cm and AWD 2 at 10cm). In each study site it has been possible to generate two indicator cycles: production (constant yield), environmental impacts (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) and efficiency in the use of resources on the farm (reduction of water consumption) . For the third year (2020), validation areas will be established on a commercial scale with the technological advances found during the first phase of the study.
“We would like to learn water saving practices, it is a valuable resource for all of us, it is practically the main input of the crop”
The evaluations in Colombia, Chile, and Peru allowed us to make evident that the application of AWD technology at moderate and advanced levels achieved a reduction of 49.8% respectively in the water consumption comparing with the control.
Regarding GHG, dissimilar results were found among the countries. The Colombian gas reduction was among 95% - 98 % in the CH4 accumulated net flows and 100% in the N2O accumulated net flows; Chile has a reduction on CH4 with AWD2 22,6 - 35,0 % and 38 - 62% in N2O. In the case of Perú, it was found emission reduction by 93% and an increase in N2O emissions.
The dissemination activities of the technology carried out in the three countries, with a total of 8 transfer events and the participation of 258 growers. It has been carried out 4 virtual events in 2020 with the participation of 211 growers