Friday, June 3, 2016

Gender issues in implementing a water saving technique in Colombia

    Photo: CIAT

The adoption of the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology, developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is currently being undertaken in Colombia by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in collaboration with the National Rice Federation in Colombia (FEDEARROZ). This research initiative is significant given the diminishing water resource and the drought episodes being experienced in some parts of the globe as a result of climate change. 
In implementing AWD, a socioeconomic study with gender perspective is being conducted in five regions of Colombia -Tolima, Norte de Santander, Córdoba, Cesar and Casanare- to identify potential barriers to technology adoption among rice producers. In some Latin American countries, studies show that women are not typically recognized as rice producers, hence, their participation in the production system and access to relevant resources are limited. Read more

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Annual emissions reductions from agriculture must reach 1 GtCO2e per year by 2030 to stay within 2°C warming limit

In the wake of the Paris Agreement, there is increased recognition of the need for mitigation in agriculture.
But how much mitigation from agriculture is needed to limit climate change? Photo: IRRI

Current agricultural interventions will only deliver 21-40% of target, indicating need for transformative technical and policy options.


The Paris Agreement, signed in 2016 by 177 countries and counting, indicates a global commitment to limiting climate change to 2°C. In parallel to the Paris Agreement, countries submitted 162 climate change adaptation and mitigation plans to the United Nations. Three-quarters of plans included intentions to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector.

Translating national plans to global impacts on climate change is not possible without clear and measurable targets for emissions reductions. In response to this gap, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), with 21 partners, put forward a preliminary target for agriculture, published in the journal Global Change Biology in May 2016. Read full story

Paris Climate Agreement Cannot Be Met Without Emissions Reduction Target for Agriculture

A farmer in India uses a GreenSeeker to gauge the health of his crops. By doing this, he can judge the optimum amount of fertilizer for crops and reduce GHG emissions from overuse of fertilizers while maximizing productivity.  
Photo: P. Vishwanathan (CCAFS)

Researchers propose a 1 gigatonne carbon dioxide equivalent per year reduction target for farming by 2030 and find current interventions could only achieve 21-40% of this goal.


BURLINGTON, VERMONT (17th May 2016) – Scientists have calculated, for the first time, the extent to which agricultural emissions must reduce to meet the new climate agreement to limit warming to 2°C in 2100.

Scientists from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the University of Vermont, and partner institutions estimate that the agriculture sector must reduce non-CO2 emissions by 1 gigatonne CO2e per year in 2030. Yet in-depth analysis also revealed a major gap between the existing mitigation options for the agriculture sector and the reductions needed: current interventions would only deliver between 21-40% of mitigation required. Read full story

Thursday, April 28, 2016

International exhibit features IRRI’s mitigation technology



April 22, New York, USA - The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has organized an exhibit that showcases climate change mitigation stories around the globe through compelling photo essays. The exhibit runs from 22 April to 12 May 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Part of the exhibit focuses on rice and climate change, which acknowledges the work of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice farming systems through the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology.

The exhibit has formerly been shown in Paris during the COP21 climate change negotiations in December 2015.

With the theme “We have the power: We are the change,” the exhibit, which opened on the celebration of Earth Day on 22 April, was intended to coincide with the momentous Paris Charter Agreement, on which 174 States and the European Union have signed. This signifies each country’s commitment to keep the global temperatures increase within this century well below 20C.

AWD is a simple and inexpensive technology
with multiple, significant benefits.
Photo: Jericho Montellano/IRRI
Doing this within the coming decades would mean reducing GHG emissions from various industries and sectors. As the global GHG emission from agriculture now reaches 10–12%, rice-producing countries need to effect measures to reduce emissions from rice cultivation, particularly the potent methane gas (CH4).

The IRRI-developed AWD technology has been proven to effectively address multiple challenges due to climate change, such as diminishing water resources and GHG emissions in rice production.

Applying AWD, rice paddies in irrigated systems need not be continuously flooded, which is the practice in the conventional system. This intermittent series of flooding and re-flooding of rice paddies results in water savings of up to 30%, thus, providing more income to rice farmers by reducing irrigation costs. This technology also reduces methane emission from rice farming by up to 50%, which helps hold down the increasing global temperature.

Through the IRRI project on methane mitigation in rice paddies, AWD is now being tested and evaluated for its technical suitability and socioeconomic benefits in countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand, and the Philippines. Activities to determine the ways and potentials for outscaling (massive technology adoption) and upscaling (mainstreaming to national development plans) are being conducted in Vietnam and Bangladesh. A project funded by the Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) being hosted by UNEP, with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), identifies opportunities for policy support and tests new scale-out models.

As the old adage goes, “a picture paints a thousand words.” Through this exhibit, it is hoped that the photos on display would be able to meaningfully communicate that we have the power to help mitigate climate change and global warming. With good science, committed efforts, and solid action on the ground, we can achieve the change that we aspire for.

Related articles:

New Climate and Clean Air Coalition agriculture effort tackles climate change, supports rice production

Climate project partners map inroad to adoption of water-saving technology

Friday, July 3, 2015

Climate project partners map inroad to adoption of water-saving technology

Stakeholders of the Paddy Rice Component discuss and visualize paths of influence and support towards AWD outscaling.
HANOI, Vietnam – IRRI’s climate change and policy research is now an insight closer to adoption in Vietnam of a technology that helps cut down water use and methane emissions from rice production.

Farmers and representatives of women’s and farmers’ unions, irrigation service providers, and the Vietnamese government’s research, agriculture, and irrigation arms in Hai Duong Province gathered in Hanoi last week to discuss how the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology may be more widely used by farmers in the province and, eventually, elsewhere in Vietnam, a top producer and exporter of rice globally.

Using a tool called NetMap, the 15 participants identified relevant stakeholders, visualized the various types of relationships among them, and rated the magnitude of influence each stakeholder had on the use of AWD in Vietnam, in two paths: farmer adoption, and government policy to this effect. The exercise enabled the participants to identify the most important stakeholders to engage as well as what they will need to increase their support for outscaling of AWD.

Participants were selected from among partners in Hai Duong Province, as AWD is already well in use in An Lam, a village in the province’s Nam Sach District. Actual experiences of farmers who have used AWD, as well as of agricultural research and extension officers and irrigation managers that support these farmers, fed very well into the discussion that took place.

The NetMap workshop was facilitated by Tony Lambino, head of communication at IRRI, and held on 25 June 2015 at the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD). It was organized by Tran Dai Nghia and Lien Huong Do, both of IPSARD, and Vu Duong Quynh of the Institute for Agricultural Environment.

The workshop was a joint activity of the Paddy Rice Component of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), represented by Bjoern Ole Sander, IRRI climate scientist; and the Policy Information and Response Platform on Climate Change and Rice in the ASEAN and its member countries (PIRCCA), both led by IRRI.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Philippines: Conservation agriculture in South Asia highlighted at climate-smart agriculture workshop


The turbo happy seeder is a planter capable of directly drilling in the field while retaining surface residue and without any soil disturbance, thus,
following the principles of conservation agriculture. Photo from Parvinder Singh, CIMMYT. 

Experts have become concerned about the long-term sustainability of conventional tillage crop production systems. In the past decades, a variety of economic, environmental, and social problems have been plaguing these practices, including labor shortages, diminishing water and energy resources, deteriorating soil health, decreasing farm profitability, and other issues related to climate change.

Conservation agriculture (CA), on the other hand, can potentially address the challenges to the future of agriculture and food security. CA is a set of soil management practices that includes minimal soil disturbance, soil residue management, and crop diversification. These practices were presented during the regional workshop on climate-smart agriculture technologies in Asia on 2-4 June in Muntinlupa City.

Increased soil tillage or ploughing results in poor soil health or soil degradation. To keep soil disturbance to a minimum, zero-tillage technologies such as the laser leveller, turbo happy seeder, and zero-till relay planters, were developed and tested in selected sites in the Indo-Gangetic Plains in northern India.

Research on the energy dynamics of wheat production under different tillage techniques demonstrate that zero-tillage technologies have the highest energy-use efficiency and the lowest consumption of water and fuel. There is also evidence that zero- tillage technologies produce lower emission of greenhouse gases.

“To ensure that these zero-till technologies are farmer-friendly and will be disseminated easily, we tested these technologies through on-farm trials at the Bourlaug Institute for South Asia,” says Parvinder Singh, a research scientist from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. “They were also tested in farmer-participatory trials in selected climate-smart villages.”

The farm machinery needed for zero-tillage need not be costly, according to Dr. Singh who leads the research on climate-smart agricultural technologies such as zero-tillage with residue retention, relay planting, water- and nutrient-smart practices. Dr. Singh’s team worked with local manufacturers in developing affordable machines that will be readily available for market distribution once they have been tested. 

Philippines: Climate conference centers on “smart agriculture”

Workshop participants learned about various CSA technologies that are being practiced in Asia.

Multiple challenges beset the agriculture sector and extreme changes in the global climate aggravate the situation. Addressing these challenges in “climate-smart” ways to provide food for the ballooning population, which is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, was the impetus behind the Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Technologies.

“There is an unhappy marriage at the moment between agriculture and climate change; increasing temperature causes drastic negative impacts on crops around the globe,” explains Dr. Andy Jarvis, flagship leader of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). “Agriculture scientists need to support the drive towards CSA to mainstream productivity, adaptation, and mitigation into the next generation of our technology.”

In a nutshell, the CSA approach supports local and global efforts for sustainably using agricultural systems to achieve food and nutritional security for all people at all time. In this effort, local and national governments and communities should be treated as co-owners and partners in building and implementing CSA knowledge and technologies.

CSA is not just about technologies and practices but about crops, livestock and fish, in the landscape, food system, and support services. It anchors on three overarching pillars of 1) improving agricultural productivity; 2) climate resilience through adaptation to climate variability; and 3) mitigation or the reduction of greenhouse gas emission from agriculture activities.

During the field tour, Dr. Abdel Ismail, principal scientist at IRRI, explains the flood and salt tolerant varieties developed by IRRI.

With support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and CCAFS co-organized the activity held in 2-4 June 2015 in Muntinlupa City. UNEP’s climate change expert Julia Steinfeld said the activity, the third in a series of CSA workshops that UNEP has supported, intended to provide an avenue to facilitate technology transfer, promote institutional and technical knowledge exchange on CSA, and foster regional collaboration.

About 80 participants from 16 countries across Asia shared and discussed CSA technologies during the workshop. There was also a poster session featuring CSA technologies being practiced in participating countries. In addition, the participants visited IRRI’s demonstration sites and laboratories where the Institute developed its CSA technologies over the years. Identify tools, policies, and mechanisms that facilitate and accelerate the upscaling and outscaling of the technologies were discussed during the visit.

The Workshop on Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies outputs will be used to develop climate financing proposals from the participating countries.