Thursday, October 22, 2015

Greenhouse gases and rice, is it always a problem : in serach of rice in Hoima

On my recent field trip to Uganda, next to a participatory GIS exercise with stakeholders, we also went for a transect drive, in order to understand the major landscape dynamics in order to model correctly possible impact from value chain intensification. 

Paddy rice is a major factor of climate change, as methane is emitted when growing on waterlogged soils. When we heart that there was rice in Hoima, we decided to focus on rice in order to understand how and where it grows and put some thoughts together on how we will model rice.

a rice field next to a groundnut field
We found a lot of upland rice, a rice that does not need irrigation and therefore does not source of greenhouse gases more than other crops. We also figure out that rice was part of a crop rotation, so one year we could find rice, the next sweet potatoes or groundnuts. Also we found rice that was inter-cropped with maize.

a rice field inter-cropped with maize

We discussed with a farmer who had one of the nicest fields. From him we learned that he is mixing his own chemicals to treat weeds. He calculated for us that treating his rice was cheaper than hiring labor to do the weeding. He also encroached on the wetland, which is humid and therefore suited to rice. The first years rice yields are high, the other fields would yield less. He also mentioned that he got the seeds for free from the cooperative. For the record, he also had two piglets , two dairy goats and some chicken. 

We concluded that rice should not be modeled separately from other crops, and that more cropland will be gained from the wetland for rice.

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