Assessing alternative crop establishment methods with a sustainability lens in rice production systems of Eastern India. uri icon

abstract

  • Sustainability of rice production systems is a prime concern for Asia to maintain food security and to support economic growth. This gain in productivity not only depends on agricultural inputs but also depends on social and environmental factors. To address these emerging issues, new resource- and capital-efficient and profitable technologies have been introduced. The conventional method of rice production (puddling and manual transplanting, PTR) is considered as highly input intensive. As an alternative, dry direct seeded rice (DSR) using seed drill has been promoted to save labor and production costs compared with PTR. Similarly, machine transplanted rice (MTR) has been also considered and promoted in many rice growing countries of South and East Asia. Economic, environmental, and social performances of DSR and MTR (alternative rice establishment technologies) were compared to the PTR using Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) defined 12 Performance Indicators (PIs) (version 1.0) as a gauge to measure their sustainability. For that, a household survey was conducted on 652 households in Odisha India during 2016. The gaps, i.e., the target to achieve better sustainability, were computed for most of the indicators from the difference between top 10th percentile and the population mean value of the indicator. The results indicated a yield gap of 1.35 t ha(-1) , a profit gap of $273 ha(-1), labor productivity gap of 21 kg day(-1), nitrogen (N) use efficiency gap of 22 kg grain kg(-1) N, phosphorus (P) use efficiency gap of 105 kg grain kg(-1) P, and water productivity gap of 0.00010 kg grain L-1 water in rice production systems in Odisha. Among the compared technologies, MTR results in the highest yield, profit, labor productivity, nitrogen-, phosphorus-use efficiency, and water productivity (at par), and is positive for children's welfare and the overall energy productivity, indicating better sustainability and has the potential to replace PTR. Direct seeded rice has the highest yield gap (1.57 t ha(-1); 38%) but has the lowest production cost (can reduce the cost of production by $130 ha(-1)), and the highest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potential. SRP PIs are capable for assessing the sustainability of rice establishment technologies except for a few indicators, for example food safety and workers health and safety, which are more applicable to watershed and household level indicators, respectively. The SRP PIs provide scientific evidence and practical impetus for the selection and promotion of sustainable rice production technologies. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020