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Abstract, International Journal of Agricultural Policy and Research, 2018

How to increase food production using less water is one of the greatest challenges of the future. Crops and livestock use 70 percent of all water withdrawals and up to 95 percent is some developing countries. Paddy alone consumes about 60 percent of it. By 2025, 1.8 billion people are projected to be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity. To ensure food security for the growing population, expansion of rice-cropped area and continuous intensification of rice cultivation would likely increase greenhouse gas emission. Data on trade-offs between rice yield increase, water management and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions are urgently needed for innovation in cropping techniques. Modification of current cropping technique might be a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rice soils. In this respect, System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been introduced as an efficient, resource saving, and productive strategy to practice rice farming. Water management practices proposed for the SRI, cycles of repeated wetting and drying, were found to be beneficial to rice plant growth through increased nutrient availability leading ultimately to higher grain yields. In many countries, SRI have been producing average yields around 8 t/ha, twice of the present world average. With good use of these methods and with build-up of soil fertility, in microbiological as well as chemical and physical terms, yields can surpass 15 t/ha, pushing beyond what has been considered a yield ceiling for rice. SRI is reported to reduce greenhouse gases emissions up to 40%, water saving 25-65%, reduction in incidence of major rice pests and diseases, resistance to storm damage and drought, high economic return and shorter crop cycle. These make SRI technology relevant to the climate change adaptation and mitigation.


East Africa