Bangladesh (South Asia)
Rice growing areas in Bangladesh
1 dot = 5,000 ha
South Asia emits the third-highest levels of methane from rice cultivation globally: 4,895 Gg CH4/year or 122,368 Gg CO2e/year. Bangladesh is the world’s eighth-largest emitter. According to the second national communication of Bangladesh to the UNFCC (from 2012), estimated methane emissions from paddy land in 2004–2005 were 15.23 Gg CO2e or 380.75 Gg CO2e, or about 23.8% of total estimated methane emissions, making rice cultivation the third-largest source of methane after domestic wastewater and livestock (Stockholm Environment Institute 2013).
Bangladesh’s population of 163 million has one of the world’s highest per capita consumption of rice (about 170 kg annually), which provides about 70% of human calorie intake. In 2011 Bangladesh was the world’s fourth-largest producer of paddy rice: roughly 11.8 million ha, or 75% of agricultural land, is under paddy rice cultivation. About 60% of the country’s rice area is irrigated. Bangladesh faces serious challenges due to climate change such as increasing weather variability, extreme events, prolonged flooding, sea-level rise, and saline water intrusion from the sea. In many irrigated areas, groundwater recharge is falling behind the rate of extraction for irrigation. Bangladesh is a founding member of the CCAC and a lead partner of the CCAC’s Agriculture Initiative. With support from the CCAC National Action Planning Initiative it has already developed a national action plan for reducing SLCPs that identifies paddy rice as a potential area for mitigation of methane emissions. IRRI works closely with the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.
Bangladesh promoted AWD in the recent three years (US $303,000) through a project coordinated by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council. The project sought to save irrigation water and fuel while also increasing crop production and environmental amenities. Although activities included 1,632 demonstration farms, field days, training, research, and monitoring, the GHG mitigation impacts of AWD were not examined. Identified barriers are a lack of knowledge about technical options among farmers and the need for more successful field demonstrations. Time-based water pricing for irrigation is recommended. The Ministry of Agriculture would like now to apply these lessons to the further optimization of GHG emission targets and mitigation practices.
AWD Outscaling through the Focal Area Network
The Rangpur Division in Northwest Bangladesh is one of the country’s most vulnerable areas due to scarce irrigation water and drought which makes it difficult to produce specifically the Boro rice (dry season irrigated rice). Boro rice accounts for over half of the country’s rice production. Additionally, the rising cost of fuel for pump irrigation aggravates the plight of the resource-poor rice farmers.
Under the “'No-regret' mitigation strategies in rice production project,” IRRI has been making progress in introducing AWD in Northwest Bangladesh and promoting its adoption for its co-benefits through the Northwest Focal Area Network (FAN). IRRI’s long-standing collaboration with FAN—a rice-based multi-sectoral network in Northwest Bangladesh comprising farmers’ organizations, academe, development NGOs and government agencies—has opened doors for AWD outscaling to thousands of farmers in the region. The collaboration with the FAN is an effective model of how different stakeholders can and should work collectively, contributing what they can and have toward a common goal of helping improve the rice sector and the lives of the rice farmers even with limited resources.