Climate smart rice management in Pakistan

In Pakistan, agriculture accounts for about 43% of greenhouse gas emissions. Pakistan has included as a priority in its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) a mitigation measure on improving irrigation practices and waste management for cultivation to control the release of methane from agricultural soils and to introduce low water dependence rice varieties.  

Pakistan is working with CCAC partners and local experts to improve the sustainability of Pakistan’s rice sector by reducing methane emissions. The project will foster cooperation with other projects in Pakistan, including the Water Productivity Project for rice and cotton project (WAPR), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by Sustainable Rice Platform partners Helvetas, Mars Food, Rice Partners Ltd and Galaxy Rice.


This project will support Pakistan to reach its NDC target by enhancing policy implementation capacity to establish ambitious targets to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). It will do this by fostering sustainable rice management as well as taking a multi-stakeholder approach that includes support for the private sector.

Under the leadership of the UN Environment Programme and in close collaboration with the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), this project will also support the ambitions of the government to establish a NAMA project.  

What we are doing

Since 2020, this project has helped Pakistan:

  • Conduct a country-specific scoping study on SLCP mitigation to assess feasibility and evaluate the technical potential of SLCP mitigation measures
  • Develop MRV capacity for rice methane mitigation, building on technology packages and tools developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) - specific support will be provided for the development of MRV tools to support the upscaling of rice methane mitigation
  • Prepare project ideas targeting a transformative change for low-emission rice production and identify finance strategies for scaling-up action

Why we are doing this work

Rice is a staple for more than half of the world’s population and forms an essential part of the diet in most Asian countries including Pakistan, and it is responsible for 10% of global anthropogenic methane emissions each year. Methane emissions from rice production amount to 7.83 Mt CO2-eq per year for Pakistan.  

Through wide-scale adoption of water management practices such as alternate wetting and drying (AWD), the rice sector could mitigate as much as 48% of global methane emissions from paddy rice. However, rice management is frequently cited without specifics on how mitigation will be achieved, indicating a need for greater clarity in technology assessment, impact monitoring, and capacity building in this area. 

Private sector engagement is widely recognized as a decisive factor in driving technology adoption and upscaling. This holds true for low-emission field management in rice because rice supply chain actors and input providers have distinct interests in promoting wide-scale uptake of best practices at the farm level. Moreover, large parts of the rice value chain, e.g. milling, are in the hand of private enterprises. However, as is seen for other agricultural commodities, limited information exchange and coordination among the many rice value chain actors frequently constrain short-lived climate pollutant mitigation efforts. 

Pollutants (SLCPs)