ADB, IRRI eye increased investments for sustainable agriculture technologies
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are aiming to help governments identify and prioritize appropriate climate-resilient agricultural technologies and practices for high-impact investment.
Under the ADB technical assistance Investment Assessment and Application of High-Level Technology for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific, IRRI and select national research organizations piloted the “Climate-smart practices and varieties for intensive rice-based systems in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Cambodia” project.
The pilot had three major components, namely identification of constraints, policy, institutional support, and logistics needed to scale up climate-smart water-saving mechanized technologies; demonstration of climate-smart agricultural practices (CSAs) related to rice-based systems; and development of a database along with evidence of benefits from CSAs using participatory approaches.
“Rice lands are threatened annually by climate-related stresses. This collaboration sets forward a proven climate-responsive framework that is built out of the current realities of smallholders in these climate-vulnerable areas,” said Arvind Kumar, the project’s lead from IRRI, adding that these environmental factors are further aggravated by limited landholdings and farmer knowledge.
Technologies and methods tested included alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and mechanized direct-seeded rice (DSR), the distribution of better rice varieties (high yielding, with short duration and better grain quality), introduction of mechanization for crop establishment and rice harvesting.
The intensification and diversification of rice-based cropping systems in target areas where also prioritized for the pilot.
It is hoped that the project provides a basis to discuss and identify future needs for collaborative partnerships and investments to deliver science-based solutions that address challenges in crop and rice production in more climate-vulnerable areas in Asia.
“The ultimate goal is to equip agricultural decision-makers with tailored, evidence-based, comprehensive plans that they can set forward. This enables more small scale farmers in other climate-affected areas to learn and gain more with less inputs, time, and energy, while minimizing agriculture’s impact on people and the planet,” said Akmal Siddiq, Chief, Rural Development and Food Security Thematic Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change (SDCC), ADB.
The full report on the ‘Climate-Smart Practices for Intensive Rice-Based Systems in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Nepal’ project was launched at the Rural Development and Food Security Forum of ADB.