The potential of roots and tubers as climate-resilient crops in Asian Mega-Deltas
A recent agricultural innovation under the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas highlights the potential of roots and tubers as climate-resilient crops, particularly in the context of potato zero tillage using rice straw mulch. This innovative approach offers a sustainable solution to environmental challenges by enhancing resource-use efficiencies and repurposing straw as mulch, thereby addressing issues related to carbon emissions and resource management.
In the south-western part of Bangladesh, where over 30% of cultivable land is in the coastal area, the challenges of the rice-based cropping system have been closely examined. The late harvest of cultivated local Aman rice varieties, wet soil conditions, and the short winter season contribute to the often-fallow fields after rice harvesting. Additionally, soil salinity, lack of fresh irrigation water, and poor drainage further compound the agricultural difficulties in this region.
However, sowing potato immediately after rice harvesting in moist soil through zero tillage with straw mulch presents a promising solution to some of these challenges. This method not only addresses obstacles related to soil conditions and salinity but also offers triple advantages in terms of soil health, environmental impact, and reduced labor and input costs.
Moreover, the adoption of the potato zero tillage approach has notable gender implications, providing increased opportunities for women.
This comprehensive approach demonstrates a potential to enhance the resilience of agricultural systems in Asian Mega-Deltas while promoting both environmental and social sustainability.