Mitigation strategies in rice production, in collaboration with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)

Photo: Georgina Smith (CIAT)

Mitigation strategies in rice production aims to reduce methane emissions from rice production while simultaneously increasing food security and the adaptive capacity of farmers in Bangladesh and Vietnam. It is being faciltated through a partnership between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with CCAFS and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC).  Please see more information at this online kiosk for mitigation in paddy rice.

Work has been conducted in two phases over four years. In the first phase (2014 – 2016), IRRI and CIAT facilitated the compilation of information in Bangladesh, Colombia, and Vietnm to assess opportunities and barriers to the large-scale implementation of low-emissions options. See a press release about the start of the project. Information included current rice management practices, data on alternate wetting and drying (AWD), biophysical and socioeconomic suitability, and current policy actions for each region. Please see the online kiosk for mitigation in paddy rice. 

IRRI and CIAT also facilitated national focal partners to form policy-focused working groups in the target countries to identify areas with high mitigation potential and design country-specific agricultural development interventions for the up-scaling of mitigation practices in those areas.

In 2017 – 2018, AWD is being scaled up in Bangladesh and Vietnam, supported by technical and policy guidance and standards for reducing methane emission intensities. A July 2018 update on the project is in the presentation below.

By 2019, the project aims to have reduced methane emission intensities (CH4/kg rice) from eligible rice systems by up to 30%; improved rice yields and efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use; and reduced production costs, water use, and fuel required to pump water, resulting in increasing food security and adaptation capacities of farmers across Bangladeshand Vietnam. This project will help decision-makers implement scalable mitigation options in paddy rice.

Expected benefits

  1. Environment:
    a.     Climate benefits: Reduction of up to 30% of methane emissions intensities in eligible production systems and subsequent reduced impacts on climate forcing.
    b.     Ecosystem health
    c.     Water savings:
    Reduced water needs of up to 30%.
    d.     Fuel savings: Reduced fuel needs, including fossil fuels.
    e.      Nitrogen efficiency:
    More efficient use of nitrogen fertilizers.
    f.      Air quality: Reduced ozone formation due to methane.
    g.     Natural resources conservation: Less water pumped or diverted for irrigation of rice paddies.
  2. Economic: Food security—paddy rice yields per hectare will be improved or at least maintained while reducing the environmental footprint and production costs; potential for increased farmer income from climate finance (Clean Development Mechanism) or country access to international climate finance (e.g., via Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions of the UNFCCC).
  3. Technical: Better characterization of regional conditions and impacts of AWD and related practices and identification of methods that can be used in each region. Integration of AWD with other best management practices for overall improved management of paddy rice.
  4. Health: Rice is a staple crop essential to the diets in each participating country; improved yields will support food security and therefore human health.
  5. Gender: Empowerment of women farmers by building technical capacities, supporting roles in innovation process, increased participation in farmers’ organizations; clearer acknowledgment and articulation of the need for gender-transformative policies at national level.
  6. Social: Attention to poor and wealthier farmers will ensure that benefits are not limited to wealthy farmers only. Impacts on poor farmers will be assessed to ensure that the interventions support long-term benefits and do not increase inequities at the household, community, or national level.
  7. Capacity building: Regional information platforms created to support national planning for mitigation in paddy rice systems. National capacity enhanced to design and monitor mitigation options for paddy rice. National working groups and regional networks created to share lessons.
  8. Technology transfer: Better emission inventories, knowledge transfer, and building of regional and local expertise.
  9. Awareness raising: Communication of where AWD+ is feasible and likely to have high impacts—and where it is not—and greater awareness of the incentives associated with AWD+.


The project is carried out with funding from the CCAC Agriculture Initiative. CCAFS Low Emissions Agriculture flagship provided co-funding in Phase 1. IRRI is working with national partners in Bangladesh and Vietnam, as CIAT did in Colombia in Phase 1. CCAFS supports the component by ensuring that cross-cutting concerns related to decision-support tools, capacity building, data for the information platforms, and gender are fully integrated. CCAFS also collaborates with the CGIAR Research Program on Rice.

Implementation also involves the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Paddy Rice Group, led by Japan and Uruguay, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the government of Japan-funded projects Mitigation in Irrigated Rice Systems (MIRSA) and Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), the Sustainable Rice Program and other partners.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Project Leader, B. Ole Sander (IRRI)