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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

SPREADING THE WORD: Looking for options to reduce methane emissions from paddy rice systems in Colombia


Source: Palmer, 2011.

One of the components of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) agriculture initiative is “Reducing methane emissions in paddy rice systems”. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Colombia (CIAT) is working in collaboration with partners including the National Federation of Rice Producers in Colombia (FEDEARROZ) and the government of Colombia to identify feasible management options that contribute toward the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (e.g., methane).

In Colombia, the FEDEARROZ’ radio station has a program called “Viva el Campo” (Long-live the field) which is aired every Wednesday and Friday. This radio station updates farmers on the latest news, and keeps them informed on issues such as new technical knowledge, rice prices, climate, etc.

On March 11th, Maria Cristina Katto (Research Associate, CIAT), who is working in the Colombia-based management team on this component, gave a radio interview which was aired in the main areas where rice is grown in Colombia. This interview which was aimed at informing farmers about this component was conducted in Spanish (see the link at the end of this blog).

Some of the highlights are as follows:

V (“Viva el Campo”): “How can we explain to the listeners that there are methane emissions from flooded rice fields?”

MC (Maria Cristina): “Rice fields produce methane gas due to the constant flooding of the soil, and it is a crop which is sown in more than 140 million has in the world being the one of the main staple foods around the globe”.

V: What are the reasons for so many countries working on this topic?

MC: One of the main reasons is that flooded rice fields are contributing to global warming; therefore this is something that concerns many countries. Even though rice is mainly cultivated in Asia we need to work towards the same goal of taking care of the environment.

V: What other countries are working on this initiative of battling methane gas emissions in rice?

MC: Right now we are working together with Bangladesh (representing Asia), Vietnam (Southeast Asia) and Colombia (Latin America). Additionally, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which is based in the Philippines, and the main global center responsible for rice research, is also providing us support.

V: What specific actions is Colombia going to take towards mitigating methane gas emissions in rice?

MC: We cannot talk about specific actions yet; we are going collecting all the relevant information to be able to make some proposals. However, I can tell you that in Phase I we are going to determine all the areas suitable to conduct feasible mitigation actions, and that is why we need all the valuable cooperation of the rice producers, FEDEARROZ and the government.

V: What would be the main challenges to carry out this initiative?

MC: One of them would be, after all the specific proposals have been formulated, to convince the rice producers that the mitigation measures will not affect yields and will help take care of the environment at the same time.

V: Where can people find more information?

MC: People interested in learning more about it can visit FEDEAERROZ’ website on www.fedearroz.com.co



If you would like to listen to the whole interview, please click on the following link (Spanish only): Viva el campo!

By: María Cristina Katto.

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