Climate-smart rice-wheat cropping system in South Asia is urgent

 Rice Today   |  

A climate change hotspot region that features both small-scale and intensive farming, South Asia epitomizes the crushing pressure on land and water resources from global agriculture to feed a populous, warming world. Continuous irrigated rice and wheat cropping across northern India, for example, is depleting and degrading soils, draining a major aquifer, and producing a steady draft of greenhouse gases.

Through decades-long Asian and global partnerships, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has helped to study and promote resource-conserving, climate-smart solutions for South Asian agriculture. Innovations include more precise and efficient use of water and fertilizer, as well as conservation agriculture, which blends reduced or zero-tillage, use of crop residues or mulches as soil covers, and more diverse intercrops and rotations. Partners are recently exploring regenerative agriculture approaches — a suite of integrated farming and grazing practices to rebuild the organic matter and biodiversity of soils.

Read the story @CIMMYT

More on climate-smart agriculture:

Climate-smart agriculture training to help BAU officials and scientists handle impacts of climate crisis
To help increase BAU’s capacity to support farmers and alleviate the impact of the climate crisis on their livelihood, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Education at IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (SARC) in Varanasi organized the training under the Climate Resilient Agriculture Program from 02 to 05 March.

The BAU-IRRI collaborative curriculum included climate-smart agriculture, climate-resilient rice varieties, precision agriculture, alternative crop establishment methods and weed management strategies in rice-wheat systems, smart water management, and direct-seeded rice technology, among others.

Why do we need climate-smart agriculture?
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that feeding the world population will require a 60 percent increase in total agricultural production. With many of the resources needed for sustainable food security already stretched, the food security challenges are huge. At the same time, climate change is already negatively impacting agricultural production globally and locally. Climate risks to cropping, livestock, and fisheries are expected to increase in the coming decades, particularly in low-income countries where adaptive capacity is weaker. Impacts on agriculture threaten both food security and agriculture’s pivotal role in rural livelihoods and broad-based development. Also, the agricultural sector, if emissions from land-use change are also included, generates about one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate-smart rice
In recent years, IRRI has developed rice with better tolerance to drought, submergence, cold, salinity, and sodicity. Our national research and agricultural extension partners test these breeding lines in different locations and countries, including evaluating their performance on farmers’ fields. The selected lines which survive under stress and retain desirable grain qualities are either released directly or bred into widely grown and popular local varieties.

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