Reducing Methane Emissions in Rice Cultivation: Lessons from Vietnam

GS-3 Mains

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the methods employed by Vietnamese rice farmers to reduce methane emissions in rice cultivation. How effective are these techniques in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining agricultural productivity?


Context: Vietnamese rice farmers are leading the way in developing methods to cut down on methane emissions from rice production.

Vietnamese Model:

  • Irrigation:
    • Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD): This water-saving technique keeps paddies moist but not constantly flooded, reducing methane-producing bacteria.
  • Drone Technology: Drones are used for tasks like applying fertilizer, saving labor costs.
  • Stubble Disposal:
    • Rice stubble burning is avoided: Stubble is collected for use as livestock feed or to grow mushrooms, reducing air pollution.

Why is Methane Emitted from Rice Fields?

  • Rice is a semi-aquatic plant grown in flooded fields, creating ideal conditions for methane-producing bacteria.
  • Decomposing organic matter (rice straw) in stagnant water fuels these bacteria.
  • Overuse of nitrogen fertilizers leads to nitrous oxide emissions, another greenhouse gas.
  • Rice production accounts for roughly 10% of global methane emissions.

India’s Methane Challenge:

  • Agriculture is the biggest source of methane emissions in India (74%).
  • Enteric fermentation (from livestock) and paddy cultivation are the main culprits.

India’s Efforts to Reduce Methane:

  • National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA): Promotes climate-smart practices for rice cultivation.
  • National Livestock Mission: Encourages practices like green fodder production to reduce livestock methane emissions.
  • Biogas Programs: Promote using biogas from cattle dung and organic waste, reducing methane release into the atmosphere.
    • New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP)
    • Gobar-Dhan scheme
  • India is not currently part of the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *