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Sawah research and development (workshop day 3)

November 24, 2011

On the third and last day ten researchers presented their findings during two morning sessions, of which one was chaired by Dr. Sander Zwart of AfricaRice. The subjects were very diverse ranging from soil physics and chemistry to dissemination and adoption strategies. Presenters originated from research institutes in Japan, Nigeria and Ghana, such as Crops Research Institute (CRI), Soil Research Institute (SRI), Kinki University, JIRCAS, National Center for Agricultural Mechanization and the University of Agriculture in Abeokuta in Nigeria.

For example, Dr Kawano of JIRCAS presented his finding on the factors for success and failure in an integrated approach. He assessed the existing yield gaps and analysed the various aspects in the rice production system that cause this gap. Post-harvest losses such as damage to birds are important, but also drought during the reproductive stage reduced final yields significantly.

Dr. Acheampo from CRI outlined his results on weeds infestation and the impact of sawah rice cultivation. Farmers use about 40% of their time for weeding in traditional systems. Under sawah system cultivation yields reach 6 ton per ha, while in traditional systems, where weed diversity and infestation are much higher, yields vary between 2.2 and 4 ton per ha.

Dr. Oppong from CRI assessed soils under traditional and sawah rice cultivation. The use of powertillers over a longer time significantly reduces the hydraulic conductivity of soils thus reducing the percolation. Losses of water and applied nutrients from fertilizers are thus reduced. These findings were confirmed in a presentation on Monday by Dr. Darmawan’s research in Indonesia. Soil samples were collected and analysed with a 33 years interval (1970 and 2003) in sawah fields used for seed and rice production. In 33 years soil carbon and nitrogen as well as several micro-nutrients had increased proofing the sustainability of the sawah system.

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