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Global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in rice production

How to identify the best practices for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in rice, while at the same time making production more efficient?ghg ciat.jpg

This is the question that brought together rice scientists from South and North American countries for a meeting of the Paddy Rice Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). Held in mid-June at Montevideo, Uruguay, the meeting provided an overview of best practices for measuring GHG emissions in rice and an update on national efforts to reduce emissions.

CIAT researcher at Agrobiodiversity Research Area Manabu Ishitani represented CIAT in the event and made a presentation titled Ongoing Research on Rice GHG Emissions at CIAT Headquarter.  In support of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), he and staff of the Center’s phenotyping platform and Ecosystem Service Laboratory are developing a methodology to quantify GHG emission from rice fields toward improvement of resource use efficiency in rice such as water and nitrogen.

While rice is one of Latin America’s most important staple foods, production of the crop is also a major source of GHG emissions.  Flooded rice fields release methane, as microbes decompose organic matter under anaerobic soil conditions. Changing water and crop management strategies together with increased use of nitrogen fertilizer can reduce methane emissions, but this raises emissions of nitrous oxide, an even more potent GHG.

The previous meeting of the Paddy Rice Research Group, established in April 2010 as one of three GRA research groups, took place at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Philippines, in January of this year. The Alliance brings together country representatives and other partners to share knowledge and foster collaborative research on agriculture’s GHG emissions.

At the meeting in Montevideo, Alliance members discussed the need to boost investment in research on GHG emissions from paddy rice through actions such as wider sharing of member countries’ research results and the possible establishment of a multisite collaborative project.

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