French scientist visits BSU, tackles aerobic rice

By BSU UPAO - Posted on 08 September 2017


French scientist Benoit Clerget from the French Agricultural Research Centre for Internal Development (CIRAD) discussed about his six-year research on aerobic rice around the globe at the Benguet State University (BSU) Strawberry Hall on September 5, 2017.

Attendees were BSU faculty, staff, and students from the College of Agriculture (CA) and the College of Engineering and Applied Cropping system (CEAT).

Clerget started his presentation as to what aerobic rice farming is all about and what problems does it address. He stated that by 2050, a booming 8 to 9 billion people is expected to feed posing a threat to the water supplies all around the globe.

He mentioned rice growers use an amount of 1,600 liters of water to produce only a kilogram of rice grains.

“In Asia, it’s a part of the world where rice is most grown. And in Asia water is already under shortage and [water shortage] is increasing everyday,” said Clerget.

Thus , Clerget introduced the aerobic rice cropping system. Aerobic rice refers to rice plantation with the use of direct dry or wet sowing. It is reported that the aerobic rice cropping system saves 23% to 50% water.

As compared to flooded rice, aerobic rice plants are smaller in size and have smaller leaves. However, Clerget stated that both technologies uses the same quantity of Carbon Dioxide, water, and mineral intake. It is also stated that the photosynthesis activity is also similar in both flooded rice and aerobic rice cropping systems.

“We will be needing less water to produce almost the same amount of yield compared to flooded rice,” summarized Dr. Danilo P. Padua, CA Faculty.

During the open forum, Edgardo Bernardo from CEAT asked on the process of irrigation and the plot preparation as compared to flooded rice. Clerget answered that there are no difference between both entities nevertheless; less irrigation is needed for aerobic rice.

A student also asked that if the rice cropping system is still considered aerobic rice especially in the Philippine condition where there is a dry and rainy season. Clerget responded and said that when it rains and floods the plot, it is not considered an aerobic rice cropping system anymore; he mentioned however that there are possible but minimal changes to the plant in the Philippine situation.//MDPenchog