Climate-Smart Rice Cultivation Trials

08 May 2016

The agriculture sector, and particularly rice cultivation, is the largest contributor to the economies of the three GE-LAMA-I partner districts in Central Java. These three districts each have a rice production surplus, and though not the largest, are major contributors of rice in Central Java. Their rice paddies, which are commonly managed in a permanently inundated state, are accused of contributing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the form of methane, which is produced through the anaerobic decomposition of organic material. Farmers’ continual inundation of rice paddies is not without reason, as it suppresses the growth of weeds, which are always a costly and labour intensive problem for rice farmers.

The fact is that land-based sector emissions from rice cultivation in Banyumas, Purbalingga and Banjarnegara over the last five years have been three to four times higher that emissions generated by changes in land cover. Half of the emissions from rice paddies are from the methane gas resulting from constant inundation, while the remainder is from fertilizer use.

Climate-smart rice cultivation is one technological option for achieving low emissions, good productivity and increased income for farmers. The main interventions involved in this technology are the regulation of intermittent irrigation systems, appropriate nutrition management and integrated pest management. The technologies applied constitute recommendations from research conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Agricultural Environment Research Institute (Balai Penelitian Lingkungan Pertanian Kementerian Pertanian (Balingtan) entitled ‘Climate-smart rice cultivation systems (Care-Rice) in Indonesia: Potential, road map and a case study from Central Java’, which it conducted in collaboration with GE-LAMA-I.

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) trials were carried out in Merden village, Purwonegoro subdistrict, Banjarnegara; Senon village, Kemangkon subdistrict, Purbalingga; and Silado village, Sumbang subdistrict, Banyumas. CSA trials were applied using a field school approach, with farmers taking part in hands-on learning processes in the field.

The larger-scale application of CSA is expected to become one of the LAMAs (Locally Appropriate Mitigation Actions) in Central Java. Research conducted by Balingtan in Jakenan subdistrict, Pati district shows that the application of intermittent irrigation systems can reduce methane emissions by approximately 40% compared to continual inundation. Further, the application of intermittent irrigation can also save water by up to 30%.

CSA trials are taking place throughout the second planting season from May to August, during which Balingtan will measure GHG emissions three times at planned intervals of 35, 60 and 85 DAP (Days After Planting).