Wednesday, May 8, 2024

One year on, IRRI and Shell evaluate progress of flagship project to reduce GHG emissions in rice cultivation

REMET-Rice is a climate change mitigation research collaboration by IRRI and Shell Nature-Based Solutions that aims to build the next generation of rice crop models and datasets toward low-emission solutions for Asian rice systems.

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines (23 April 2024) ~ A wealth of data gathered from multiple experiments and studies were shared and discussed during the first-year progress report and meeting of the Reducing Methane Emissions from Rice (REMET-Rice) Project, a flagship collaboration between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Shell Nature-Based Solutions.

Launched in April 2023, REMET-Rice is a groundbreaking multi-year project by IRRI and Shell that pioneers new upstream and adaptive research activities for understanding methanogenesis, or the generation of methane, in rice systems. The ultimate aim of the project is to develop holistic and scalable solutions for reducing methane emissions in rice production, which farmers can adopt to help them improve their sustainability and participate in carbon markets.

Globally, rice production is one of the top emitters of agricultural greenhouse gases, particularly methane. One hectare of rice can produce as much as 12 MtCo2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) annually in high-baseline locations. As 90% of rice is grown in Asia, mostly by small farms with an average of less than 1 hectare, remediation options that can be scaled to smallholder farmers will be key to effective mitigation.

Extensive data from plant, soil, and atmosphere were collected across four different sites and five experimental studies in IRRI Headquarters during the 2023-2024 dry season. Key components of these studies include varietal evaluation, microbiomes, and various soil amendments including biochar under different water management regimes.

“Achievements for this first phase of the project include data gathering and management, as well as establishing project protocols and SOPs across the various REMET-Rice teams,” said Dr. Olivyn Angeles, Senior Associate Scientist for Agronomy and Soil Health. “For example, data from soils include measurements of 18 different parameters taken from over 4,000 soil samples. The data we collect in this early phase will be fundamental for a comprehensive and systematic picture of the methanogenesis process in rice systems under different conditions.”

As a research initiative that focuses on upstream research and knowledge development, the activities of REMET-RIce have already attracted interest and support from other organizations that perform research in agriculture and climate science. Next steps for the project will be an expanded research and technology portfolio that may lead to novel rice improvement programs with new plant trait engineering, integrated crop management with novel combinations for soil, water, and nutrient management with soil amendments, and crop and spatial modeling for technologies targeting.

“The REMET-Rice Project is distinctive for its targeted, comprehensive, and adaptive upstream research to understand methanogenesis in rice cultivation,” said Dr. Ando Radanielson, Project Lead and IRRI Senior Scientist for Climate Change Mitigation in Rice Systems. “It provides a unique platform for a systems approach and multi/co-benefits evaluation. We are the only project investing in the next generation of rice models to inform design of a low-carbon rice system, and we are supporting the building of a global database for methane mitigation in the rice system to support evaluation of the ORYZA model platform. This collaboration between IRRI and  Shell India Markets Private Limited is a foundational project leading the transformation of the rice system towards low carbon solutions for climate change mitigation in major rice growing areas in Asia.”


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