Thursday, November 27, 2014

Philippines: IRRI and CCAFS discuss better collaboration of climate change-related research activities

CCAFS Program Director Bruce Campbell discusses program updates and plan.

CGIAR Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Director Bruce Campbell and scientists with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) discussed the proper integration and alignment of climate change-related research at IRRI with the overall CCAFS framework during a meeting at IRRI Headquarters on 24 November.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New CCAC Agriculture Effort Tackles Climate Change, Supports Rice Production

Leading agricultural research institutes join partners in Bangladesh, Colombia and Vietnam in a groundbreaking effort to reduce climate emissions while supporting rice producers’ efficient production. 

Bangkok, Thailand - A new effort launched here on 31 October 2014 seeks significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from rice cultivation—the second largest source of methane generated by agriculture globally—while making production more efficient and resilient to weather-related shocks in three rice-producing countries in Asia and Latin America.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Launching of program to reduce methane emission from rice production

Los Baños, Philippines – A consortium of agricultural and environmental scientists will soon be launching a program that aims to reduce methane emissions from rice production in target countries. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Center forTropical Agriculture (CIAT), and partners will launch a new rice component of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The launch is scheduled for 31 October 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

It is widely known that impacts of climate change negatively affect rice cultivation, such as reduced yield from temperature increases. On the other hand, flooded rice fields exacerbate climate change as they are the second largest agricultural source of methane emissions globally.

Together with national policymakers and nongovernment organizations, this new CCAC rice component aims to disseminate best practices to minimize methane emissions, particularly through the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) approach.

Years of IRRI research show that AWD could reduce methane emissions by 30–50% and present other benefits such as efficient water use, improved rice yields, and reduced production cost. Compared with the common practice of continuous flooding, AWD enables farmers to periodically dry and re-flood their rice fields. The result is a significant reduction in water use as well as a reduced build up of methane gas in rice production.  

The technology makes use of a simple perforated plastic tube that allows farmers to observe water levels below the soil surface to know whether roots still have access to water and, in effect, whether it is the right time for irrigation. Through AWD, farmers can be confident that their rice plants receive sufficient water despite drying of the soil surface. Research and experience also show that there is no significant yield penalty with proper implementation of this practice. In combination with other measures, the improved application of this technique is referred to as AWD+.

The program will focus on Vietnam and Bangladesh, two major rice-producing countries in Asia, and Colombia, the second biggest rice-producing country in Latin America. These countries represent vastly different types of rice production. Vietnam has very intensive rice production in the delta regions, with methane emissions estimated to be above 20% of all national greenhouse gas (GHG) sources. In Bangladesh and Colombia, this percentage is less than 10% and 1%, respectively.

The 18-month program will establish a central information hub as basis for developing a network of demonstration sites to illustrate the benefits of AWD+. Program proponents envision technical and policy guidelines integrated into decision-support tools for implementing climate change mitigation initiatives in rice production.

IRRI and CIAT are members of CGIAR, a consortium of 15 international agricultural research centers dedicated to a food-secure future. Within CGIAR, research work on climate change is coordinated by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program (CCAFS).

To learn more about this program, contact:

Dr. Reiner Wassmann
Coordinator of Climate Change Research
International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Dr. Bjorn Ole Sander
Climate Change Specialist
International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Monday, September 15, 2014

'Extreme Events' from Climate Change Could Threaten Global Rice Production, Warns IRRI Scientist - In an exclusive interview to Oryza, Dr. Reiner Wassman, coordinator of the Climate Change Research at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) clearly highlights the importance of the impact of climate change on rice production in various countries and possible means of its mitigation. He also talks about the importance of technology in adapting to climate change phenomenon. Various issues on climate change in his works...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

IRRI expands tech that cuts farmer’s water expense, greenhouse gas emission

by Melody M. Aguiba
August 19, 2014

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is expanding use of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology among Angat farmers to help cut irrigation expense and reduce emission of methane to the environment.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Partners convene to steer climate change activities to next level

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its partner institutes in the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Irrigated Rice Paddies in Southeast Asia (MIRSA-2 Project) and the Paddy Rice Research Group (PRRG) of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) held their annual meetings at IRRI headquarters on August 18-19 and 21, respectively, to discuss their climate change agendas for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gasses that cause climate change.

The MIRSA-2 Project

Launched in 2013, MIRSA-2 is a 5-year research project that aims to develop an improved water management in rice-cropping systems in Southeast Asia using the alternate wetting and drying (AWD) technology. Researches in several Asian countries have shown that AWD can reduce the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas, from irrigated rice paddies by 30% compared with the conventional farming practice. The National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Japan oversees the overall execution of the MIRSA-2 project, while IRRI provides technical support and synthesis of data.

Concurrent with the AsiaFlux Workshop 2014, the project highlighted the results and lessons learned from the first season AWD experimental field trials in four MIRSA sites. Additionally, a proposal for a structured MIRSA database system and formulation of guidelines for measurement, reporting and verification of GHG emission reductions with the adoption of AWD in irrigated paddies were discussed. Ultimately, the MIRSA-2 Project aims to create an implementation guideline on techniques to reduce GHG emissions from irrigated paddy rice fields and set up an information infrastructure to share the findings of participating members.

Kazuyuki Inubushi, the designated adviser of the MIRSA project by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan, represented the project donor. Dr. Inubushi met with delegates from the project’s partner research and academic institutions including Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam; Indonesian Agricultural Environment Research Institute (IAERI), Indonesia; Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment/King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand; Prachin Buri Rice Research Center, Thailand, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The Global Research Alliance

In the same week GRA held a meeting to discuss the five action plans set by PRRG.

The action plan includes hastening efforts to: 1) standardize measurement techniques; 2) create a database of publications and experts; 3) increase country participation; 4) set-up a pilot multi-country experiment; and 5) build a network for mitigation and adaptation synergies.

Research activity reports were presented by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Chiba University, IAERI, and IRRI. IRRI is a collaborative partner in the Alliance’s PPRG which focuses on reducing the GHG emissions of paddy rice cultivation systems while improving efficiency production. Ms. Deborah Knox, GRA secretariat, also presented an overview of the Alliance, while Dr. Kazuyuki Yagi, co-chair of the PRRG, presented an overview of the PRRG.

The 2014 Asia sub-group meeting of the PRRG was attended by representatives from Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Vietnam as well as representatives from member countries in Latin America.

Launched in 2009, the GRA brings more than 30 member countries from all regions of the world together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rice fields emit greenhouse gases say agriculturalists

Staff Correspondent

While rice production may get affected due to the impacts of climate change, rice farming itself is a contributor to climate change as a substantial source of greenhouse gases (GHGs), agricultural scientists said yesterday.

They recommended that farmers use new irrigation technologies--Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) and Fertiliser Deep Placement (FDP) in rice farming to mitigate GHG emissions.

These observations came at a two-day workshop on "GHG emissions from rice fields: Mitigation options from FDP and AWD", organised by International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in the capital. Dr Reiner Wassmann, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), presented a keynote paper on “Assessing the suitability of mitigation options in rice production derived from bio-physical considerations and stakeholder perceptions”.

He discussed the benefits of the adoption of AWD, a technology for water-saving with the aim to reduce GHG emissions in rice fields. Around 21 percent of the total GHG emissions in Bangladesh occur in rice fields, he said.

“Various altered crop management strategies have been suggested, ranging from the selection of potentiality low-emitting rice cultivars to proper post-harvest management, but AWD is still the most promising option,” he said.

IFDC is researching methods to mitigate GHG emissions that result from lowland rice farming in Bangladesh.

Rice farms account for 85 percent of Bangladesh's agricultural land and emit carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide greenhouse gases. Moreover, inefficient fertiliser use in rice cultivation increases nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emissions.

Yam Kanta Gaihre, deputy chief of the Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement at IFDC, presented a paper on “Assessing the impacts of urea deep placement (UDP) on GHG emissions and mitigation potential under continuous rice cropping system”.

UDP is a rising popular technology that can drastically cut nitrogen losses up to 35 percent and increases rice yield up to 20 percent, he said.

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury inaugurated the workshop as chief guest.

(Repost from The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

Bangladesh Rice Farmers Can Earn Carbon Credits, Say Researchers - Agricultural researchers from the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have recommended Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) and Fertilizer Deep Placement (FDP)/Urea Deep Placement (UDP) techniques to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice fields in Bangladesh, according to local sources.

Read more

Use less urea for green Bangladesh, says Matia

Staff Correspondent

Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury urged the farmers of the country to adopt Urea Deep Placement (UDP) Technology in the rice field for making the country greener and safer from the global warming.

She also said if UDP technology is adopted widely then it can reduce the urea usage in the field drastically as well as increase the rice yielding up to 15 per cent.

Agriculture Minister said it as the chief guest at a national workshop organised by International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) under the Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) project on "Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions through Urea Deep Placement (UDP) Technology from Rice Field" at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) on Tuesday.

She added we are the worst victim of climate change and the emissions of GHG make us more vulnerable to nature. She suggested for continuing and expanding GHG emissions mitigation research in diversified crops and cropping patterns. Secretary of Agriculture Ministry Dr S M Nazmul Islam and USAID Mission Director Ms Janina Jaruzelski were present as the special guests while Executive Chairman of BARC Dr Md Kamal Uddin chaired the inaugural session of the workshop.

Senior Scientist and Coordinator of Rice and Climate Change Consortium of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Dr Reiner Wassmann presented the keynote paper entitled "Assessing the Suitability of Mitigation Options in Rice Production Derived from Bio-physical Considerations and Stakeholders' Perceptions" and AAPI Deputy Chief of Party Dr Yam Kanta Gaihre presented the workshop paper entitled "Assessing the Impacts of Urea Deep Placement on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Potential under Continuous Rice Cropping Systems" while Resident Representative of IFDC Bangladesh and Project Coordinator and Chief of Party of the AAPI project Ms Ishrat Jahan provided an overview of the AAPI-GHG project in the workshop.

Dr Reiner in his presentation stated the benefits of adopting water saving irrigation technology - Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) in rice production.

Dr Yam highlighted the mitigation options of GHG emissions from rice field using UDP technology. He mentioned that nitrous oxide has 298 times higher potential for global warming than carbon dioxide. He claimed that UDP and AWD are climate smart technologies and adoption of those technologies could significantly mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from rice agriculture.

Ms Ishrat highlighted that UDP technology reduced nitrogen losses as ammonia volatilization and emissions of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide compared with broadcast application of urea.

About 300 participants from home and abroad attended the workshop and the project was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

(Repost from The Daily Observer, Bangladesh)

IRRI and ASIAFLUX hold workshop on how to sustain balance in ecosystem

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Asiaflux co-organized a short training course and workshop where scientists, academicians and entrepreneurs shared scientific knowledge to ensure sustainability of life on earth through flux monitoring.  Guided by the theme Bridging Atmospheric Flux Monitoring to National and International Climate Change Initiatives, Asiaflux Workshop 2014 was  held on 18-23 August at IRRI headquarters.

Dr. Akira Miyata, chair of Asiaflux and director of the Agro-Meteorology Division of the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Studies, explained that IRRI was the apt choice for the activity with its extensive and long history of methane flux study. Methane is an important greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. IRRI is also recognized as one of the focal points for research of crop science in the world, thus, providing the best platform to promote flux studies in tropical ecosystems in monsoon Asia.

In his opening speech, Robert Zeigler, director general of IRRI, stated that the Institute has long been working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from rice fields.  “We look at changes in rice-based systems in Asia,” Dr. Zeigler said. “We need all the tools at our disposal to try to understand how our interventions affect other aspects of system performance and their impact on the environment.”

Meanwhile, Reiner Wassmann, head of IRRI’s climate change research, emphasized that, apart from the provision of tools and information to assess GHG and mitigation programs,  how to engage the stakeholders to ensure practicality of results is another important concern.

Prior to the conference, a two-day training course was conducted by staff from Campbell Scientific. It focused on the basics and principles of the Eddy Covariance System (ECS), a system to measure carbon dioxide, methane, and heat fluxes between soil and plants and atmosphere. The participants also had a hands-on experience in setting up various ECS and basic programming of the software that runs the ECS.

Asiaflux 2014 was supported by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, Campbell Scientific, National Institute for Agro-Environmental Science and the National Institute. Dr. Wassman and Ma. Carmelita Alberto, associate scientist at the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division, were in charge of the preparations and activity implementation of the workshop.

Asiaflux is a regional research network bringing together scientists from university and institution in Asia to study the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and energy between land-based ecosystems and the atmosphere. The organization conducts flux monitoring and data management in Asia, international workshops/conferences, and trainings, and information sharing.