In many parts of the world rice is grown in flooded paddies. The warm, waterlogged soil provides ideal conditions for microbes, which produce methane as they breakdown and decay organic matter. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and is a significant portion of total greenhouse gas emissions for many rice growing countries. Rice cultivation is responsible for 10% of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions globally.
RDRS Bangladesh worked with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to introduce Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) rice cultivation in Bangladesh’s Rangpur Division. This planting method has the potential to reduce methane from paddy rice by half. Instead of keeping their fields continuously flooded, farmers drain rice paddies two to three times during the growing season. This limits the amount of methane produced, does not compromise yield, and helps farmers save money on irrigation.
Alternate wetting and drying also helps increase climate resilience to farmers in areas like Rangpur Division, which is vulnerable droughts and increasing water scarcity.
RDRS Bangladesh supported the spread of climate friendly rice cultivation by overseeing the Northwest Focal Area Network – a multi-sector network of hundreds of farmers, well owners, researchers and trainers in 8 districts and 17 locations to test and adopt alternate wetting and drying. The Bangladesh government plans to scale up AWD rice production to 20% of total rice cultivation by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).