New technologies need to be developed to assist farmers to cope with water shortages in rice production. Aerobic rice is a production system in which specially developed, input-response rice varieties with “aerobic adaptation” are grown in well-drained, nonpuddled, and nonsaturated soils without ponded water. Evidence of feasibility comes from northern China, where breeders have produced first-generation (temperate) aerobic rice varieties that use only 50% of the water used in lowland rice. However, sustainable crop-soil-water management recommendations are lacking. A shift from continuously flooded to aerobic conditions may have profound effects on sustainability (e.g., soil health), which needs study to develop sustainable production systems. Moreover, there are no aerobic rice varieties for the tropics. In this CPWF project, strategic research was undertaken to develop sustainable aerobic rice systems for water-scarce irrigated and rainfed environments in Asia.
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food Project Reportseries; www.waterandfood.org. 150 pp.