Can drought-tolerant varieties produce more food with less water? An empirical analysis of rice farming in China

Most of the poorest people live in rural areas worldwide, characterized by uncertain rainfall, low levels of input use, and low returns to land and labor. Farmers in these risky production environments often face drought that interacts with many other agronomic stresses to reduce yields and push them deeper into poverty and hunger. The primary objective of this paper is to estimate the effects that have resulted from the adoption of drought-tolerant rice. Food security and water shortage are two major challenges for China. Rice is a staple food for most Chinese people and has played an important role in ensuring food security in China. This paper assesses the impacts of Hanyou 3, one of the drought-tolerant rice varieties that have been released to farmers’ fields already in China, on water use and rice production. The results indicated that the rice farmers gave less irrigation to DT variety as compared to non-DT variety, saving about 30-40% of water over non-DT variety. It is also found that the DT rice variety in China yielded as much as existing high-yielding varieties under normal or high rainfall conditions.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-14

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