Rice scientists and climate change experts agree on one thing—today’s changing weather vis-à-vis rice cultivation is a complicated subject. More so if it entails merging agriculture and rice science into the picture. There are tons of weather data, multi-crop models, simulation tests that need to be analyzed in order to come up with concrete recommendations. But as weather systems continue to mess up and the demand for agricultural production increases significantly, researchers and administrators in the Asian Pacific region strongly feel that there is a need to closely collaborate and face the emerging problems that go with climate change on rice-based agriculture.
FFTC, in collaboration with the Monsoon Asia Agro-Environmental Research Consortium (MARCO) and the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES) recently held a workshop on “Integration of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Measures for Small-scale Rice Cultivation." Held in Tsukuba, Japan, the said workshop was participated in by seven speakers from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. A sharing of knowledge and adaptation measures on rice cultivation in the midst of climate change ensued and scientific studies were presented showing field trials in relation to weather data, crop models and climate change impacts. Discussions focused mainly on integration measures being conducted by various countries regarding climate change mitigation efforts for rice based agriculture.
According to the research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), 2015 is an important year for advancing researchers in climate change and agriculture. Across continents, weather based insurance schemes have been developed, farmers in depressed communities were informed on the implications of global warming, climate-smart agricultural practices have been widely promoted with emphasis on early warning systems for agricultural resilience and focus on pests and diseases in crops.
In Japan, scientists are seriously studying agricultural water use with emphasis on the quantity aspect of the water circulation in the world. A paper by Dr. Takao Masumoto of the National Institute for Rural Engineering (NIRE) of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) reported that the visualization of this complicated process of agricultural water use has remained untouched and could lead to the solution of the agro environmental problems like floods and droughts. The paper likewise delved on the future challenges in researches on water resources related to agro-environments.
Another related study which was presented in the workshop was related to the highlights of the five-year long research project for Global Risk Assessment toward Stable Production of Food (GRASP) which tackled important technologies like satellite remote sensing as potential source of information for global climate-crop analysis. Discussions focused on major challenges including climate influences on cropping area, global seasonal crop prediction to adapt to extreme climate and change, estimating global adaptation costs in crop production systems, and data gaps.
Major findings and recommendations
The workshop, which is also based on the East Asian regional program of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP: http://www.agmip.org) technical meeting, had the workshop participants report circumstantial evidences on the risks of climate change on rice-based agriculture in their respective countries. Participants agreed and recommended that the following measures will gain a more precise understanding of the impacts of climate change on rice cropping systems in Asia:
1) Conduct long-term field trails and collect weather data at each site;
2) Evaluate the collected field trial and weather data;
3) Calibrate the multi-crop models at each site with at least three-year data; and
4) Run the simulations with the multi-crop models to feature the impacts of climate change on rice production with current conventional practices.
Meanwhile, participants from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam expressed their interest in participating in the collaborative modeling and simulation studies with AgMIP. The symposium organizers also shared. The other possible network opportunities to tackle the climate-related issues: Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA); FAO Regional Rice Inititative; Asia Soil Partnership (ASP); International Nitrogen Initiative (INI), etc.
Participants to the MARCO Symposium 2015: Next Challenges of Agro-Environmental Research in Monsoon Asia. FFTC, Marco and NIAES sponsored seven speakers from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Dr. Kazuyuki Yagi (Middle), Research Coordinator of the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (NIAES) discusses agri and climate change issues with FFTC Deputy Director Takashi Nagai (L) and FFTC Consultant Dr. George Kuo.