Aerobic rice – one answer to climate changeFebruary 27, 2008
Aerobic rice does away with flooding as a practice in the fields. Due to the deep roots the rice plants develop they are better able to draw nutrition from the soil as well as moisture. The generation of methane gas, a by product of flooding, is also minimized. As strains are crossed and varieties developed, which have the fine grains demanded by the consumer but the drought tolerance demanded by weather conditions, aerobic rice becomes a reality.
Arghyam through the Krishi Vidya Nirantara has sponsored a student to conduct his research on aerobic rice. Professor Shashidhar Reddy- http://www.aerobicrice.in – is working on this strain within the GKVK, the University of Agricultural Science Bangalore.
Manohar, the Ph.D. student explains the advantage of aerobic rice. Prof Srinivasamurthy of the soil chemistry department GKVK also pitches in to explain other advantages. Significant advantages of aerobic rice are Less water requirement. No flood irrigation. Watering once in 5 days.Equal productivity as other rice.less disease.less methane emission.
Huge advantages which need to be worked upon further to take it to our farmers.
Can KVN and Arghyam (www.arghyam.org) too rise to this challenge?
Climate change needs us to look at various alternatives for more drought tolerant and tougher strains. We need the research fast too. Students like Manohar and Prof Shashidhar Reddy are in the fore front of this research.
Key challenges will emerge. Will new pests develop in the non-flooded regime? How to manage weed growth a primary reason for flooding the crops? How to change the behaviour pattern ingrained in farmers s regards flooding paddy fields? How to improve productivity of the aerobic rice as more and more demands are placed on fields to feed a growing population economically better off than before? How to ensure maximum benefits to small and marginal farmers and increase their return on land?