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Havard research reveals rice farming produces global warming substance

Havard research reveals rice farming produces global warming substance

A research by a team of engineers and atmospheric scientists at Harvard University, has revealed that increase in rice farming in sub-Saharan Africa is found to be producing rising amounts of methane.

Working with a colleague from the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the team calculated the increased amount of methane being expelled into the atmosphere due to increases in rice farming in parts of Africa.

In their paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change recently, the group describes how they recalculated methane emissions due to recent increases in rice production in sub-Saharan Africa, and what they found by doing so.

Prior research has shown that methane is the second most important greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide, as it has been found to have more radioactive properties (it holds in heat better) than CO2, which means that even though far less of it is emitted into the atmosphere, it still plays a major role in global warming.

Prior research has also shown that growing rice in sub-Saharan Africa doubled in production from 2008 to 2018—a good trend for feeding people (it currently accounts for approximately 9% of the continent’s caloric intake) but not so good for the environment. Growing rice releases very large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

In this new effort, the researchers started with numbers representing Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions prior to 2008 and then added in the amount that has been emitted due to factors involved in growing rice, such as irrigating, flooding patties, burning fields, and harvesting.

As part of that effort, they assessed the rice-growing extent, which included more accurately outlining rice-growing land and the number of days rice fields in Africa emit methane. They then used what they had learned to calculate new estimates of methane emissions into the atmosphere for all of Africa.

The research team found that the increase in rice production in Africa accounted for approximately 31% of the increases in methane emissions for all of Africa from 2006 to 2017, and 7% of the global rise in methane missions for the same period.

With this research in view, a Climate Smart Agriculture expert, Dr Ayodele Otaiku, has called for the introduction of regenerative agricultural practices with the use of Aratibiotech climate solution to mitigate methane production in rice production.

He said conventional rice farming is one of the largest sources of (GHG) gases in the world, emitting 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. This is equivalent to burning one billion tons of coal. The GHG emissions associated with farming inputs, on-farm activity, post-harvest production, and transportation.

According to him, regenerative organic agriculture improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them. “It is a holistic systems approach to agriculture that encourages continual on-farm innovation for the environment, society and economy.

“The choice and use of regenerative agriculture practices vary by region, context, goals, and history of the farm; there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. Remember that practices work differently in different farm ecosystems and therefore need to be adapted to the specific context.

“Bio-economy the use of biological feedstocks, or processes involving biotechnology for biowaste recycling techniques developed into bio-based products for soil fertility management and soil health with external construct validity from institutions and certification from regulatory Nigerian regulatory agencies as a ‘new’ trajectory for ‘sustainable capitalism’ and climate change mitigation solution.

“Greening the economy means restructuring agribusiness and infrastructure to provide better returns on investments in natural, human and economic capital.

“Three main pillars must be harmonized: economy, society and environment with the application of regenerative agriculture products such as bio-fertilizer, bio-pesticide, bio-herbicide, plant growth regulator (PGR) and post-harvest cereal bio-protection, Bio-primed seeds for sustained agriculture, soil resilience and climate change management,” he said.


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