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Improving Water Productivity in Rice – A Response to Climate Change and Water Stress in Pakistan

Improving Water Productivity in Rice – A Response to Climate Change and Water Stress in Pakistan

Arjumand Nizami1, Muhammad Zulfiqar2*, Jawad Ali1, Naushad Khan2 and Imran Sheikh

1Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation, Pakistan; 2The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan; 3WAPRO Project Sheikhupura, Pakistan.  


Rice is an important crop of Pakistan occupying an area of 2.74 million hectare and production of 6.802 million tons. Rice is not only an important staple food crop of Pakistan but it is also an export commodity earning precious foreign exchange for the country. However, rice is a water intensive crop compared to other cereal crops. In view of climate change, water management for agriculture encompasses all technologies and practices leading to water productivity enhancement to address increasing irrigation water demand and declining water resources. One of such technology known as laser land leveling was introduced in Pakistan in 1980s. More recent introduction is of another water efficient technique known as The Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology evolved by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). AWD intervention in conjunction with laser land leveling is made through Water Productivity (WAPRO) project in Muridke tehsil of district Sheikhupura Punjab Pakistan. This study has been conducted with the aim to determine the irrigation water use efficiency at rice farms as a result of adopting AWD and laser land leveling technology by the respondent farmers. The data were collected from the three selected villages using focused group discussions and individual interviews of 21 beneficiary rice producers. Out of 21 farmers, 7 farmers were selected each from head, middle and tail of the water channels located at Joyianwala, Saikhum and Kathianwala villages. The baseline data were collected in July 2017 while post technology adaptation data were collected in December 2018 from the same beneficiary farmers. The data collected were analyzed using MS-Excel. The analysis of the data reflected that although canal water was available but about 80% at head, 50% at middle and 20% at tail. Thus remaining irrigation water requirement i.e. about 20% at head, 50% at middle and 80% at tail was met through tube well operation. The result from before and after AWD technology and laser land leveling technology adaption shows that 24.24% tube well operation time was reduced at the head, 19.4% reduced at middle and 24.4% reduced at tail. The reduction of hours in operating tube well results in dual benefits of savings in the quantity of irrigation water extraction particularly keeping in view the climate change scenario and saving in cost of energy that is used for tube well operation ultimately adding to profitability of the farmers. These results are in line with a number of earlier studies. The respondent farmers also claimed improvement in paddy yield but along with AWD technique and laser land leveling there might be other agronomic factors adding to yield improvement as this study did not isolate yield and AWD technology and laser land leveling from other factors that may be studied in future research studies. The laser land leveling is already attracting huge investment from the government but AWD technology is yet to get its place in government priority. It is therefore recommended that AWD technology should be up-scaled to address water constraints in agriculture sector. 

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture


Sarhad Journal of Agriculture, Vol.40, Iss. 1, Pages 01-262


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