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Title: Building resilience to climate change induced extreme weather events through agriculture with a focus on the system of rice intensification
Language: English
Authors: Shah, Tavseef M.  
Otterpohl, Ralf 
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2016
Abstract (english): 
The temperate Himalayan valley of Kashmir is certainly not out of the sphere of influence of climate change induced irregular and extreme weather events. The effects of climate change have become more evident in recent years with drier winters and prolonged dry spells during the agricultural season, when rains are most needed for the crops. The catastrophic floods of September 2014, which led to complete destruction of the harvest-ready crops (mostly rice paddies) is fresh in the memory of the people. Kashmir has traditionally been a farm based self-sufficient economy but now the region is highly dependent on imports from outside, a problem that is aggravated by the high levels of unemployment.

Boiled rice is the staple food in the Kashmir region with rice cultivation in inundated paddies being the only method in use. Flooded rice paddies are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions with 20 % of total methane emissions worldwide coming from them. Methane is an greenhouse gas that is 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. The use of N-fertilizers, which leads to pollution of the water bodies and also releases nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 310 times as potent as carbon dioxide –, is in vogue in the region, hence aggravating the situation. This type of rice cultivation also has an inherent disadvantage of not being able to withstand rainstorms or water stress in case of high flooding due to overflow of the rivers into the catchment areas.

Rice is a staple food for the majority of the 1.7 billion South Asian population and a source of livelihood for more than 50 million households. With South Asian population predicted to rise to more than 2 billion by 2030, there is a need to find ways to increase rice production in a climate-smart way. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) defines climate-smart agriculture as consisting of three main pillars; 1. Food security: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes. 2. Adaptation: adaptation and building resilience to climate change. 3. Mitigation: reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible. With these goals in mind, the current work focuses on researching the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in the context of Kashmir valley.

SRI is essentially a system for an integrated soil, water, and air management. It results in healthier soils, prevents groundwater contamination, and leads to less emission of greenhouse gases. SRI has been successfully implemented in the neighbouring regions of Punjab (Pakistan), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (Pakistan) and in South and South-East India with. The success stories from these regions have reported an increase in the rice production up to 400 % with reduced water requirements and reduced lodging of the crops due to extreme weather events. The climate in Kashmir is radically different from the one present in these regions, hence adaptations of the system to the local climate may be needed for its successful implementation.

Although the effect of System of Rice Intensification with respect to the quantity and quality of rice has been studied in considerable detail, its contribution to climate change mitigation has not been quantitatively assessed. This research aims at addressing this aspect of this climate change adaptation strategy as well. There are evidences that SRI practices can contribute to slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases so as to reduce the global warming potential. To quantify this, there needs to be a thorough and precise evaluation, which is one of the aims of this research.
Conference: 4. Workshop des FSP „Klimaschonende Energie- und Umwelttechnik“ 
DOI: 10.15480/882.3223
Institute: Abwasserwirtschaft und Gewässerschutz B-2 
Document Type: Poster
Project: Building resilience to climate change induced extreme weather events through agriculture with a focus on the system of rice intensification 
License: CC BY 4.0 (Attribution) CC BY 4.0 (Attribution)
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