The adoption of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) can save a minimum of 30% in irrigation water and 30 liters of diesel and electricity for water pumps while producing 500 kg more of Boro rice per hectare of land in Bangladesh.
AWD is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce their irrigation water consumption in rice fields without decreasing its yield. In AWD, irrigation water is applied a few days after the disappearance of the ponded water.
As climate change threatens the agriculture sector, efforts must be made to reduce the use of underground to the minimum as there is no alternative to maintaining the current increasing rate of food production, according to Dr. Md Abdul Mazid, a former chief scientific officer at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.
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More information on AWD:
Widely recognized water-saving technology does not increase damage by pest rodents
AWD is one of the most widely disseminated water-saving technologies developed by IRRI in collaboration with many partner organizations. The simple but effective irrigation scheduling technique reduces the water inputs in rice production by 20−25%. The water saved through the use of AWD and modern rice varieties has enabled farmers to plant a third non-rice crop in between two rice crops, thereby increasing the intensification of the rice-based system and the farmers’ income. Despite numerous advantages to adopting AWD to manage water use in rice fields, many farmers in Southeast Asia are hesitant to use it because they fear it will lead to increased rodent pest infestation and higher yield loss.
New research investigates what hinders wide adoption and scaling of alternate wetting and drying in Bangladesh
Despite the widespread testing and promotion, AWD has not been adopted in the entire country. New research investigates the factors that deter the adoption and scaling of this promising technology to end-users. “One of the key factors that hinder the adoption of safe AWD is the lack of economic incentives to save water,” Dr. Yadav said. “In Bangladesh, irrigation is charged per unit area and not based on the amount of water used. It defeats the purpose of AWD which reduces the amount of irrigation water.”
Bangladesh network wins award for the dissemination of low-carbon rice production options
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition conferred the Innovation in Behavioural Change award to the Northwest Focal Area Network (FAN) for its effort in reducing methane emissions in rice production. FAN—a network comprising hundreds of farmers, well owners, researchers, and extension agents that focuses on rice-based systems—was recognized for disseminating climate-smart technologies like AWD to rice farmers across 8 districts and 17 locations in Rangpur, northern Bangladesh. Over 5,000 farmers have already been reached by the network and a significant number has been testing and practicing the AWD technology, along with other mitigation measures.