Rice is the staple food in Asia but also the single biggest “user” of fresh water. The
declining availability of water threatens the traditional way of irrigated rice production.
An efficient use of water is essential to safeguard food security in Asia. Technologies like
saturated soil culture and alternate wetting and drying are found promising but require
prolonged periods of flooding. Aerobic rice, reduce water inputs in rice field by cutting
down the unproductive water losses caused due to seepage and percolation. Experiments
on aerobic rice have shown that water inputs were more than 50 per cent lesser (only
470-650 mm) and water productivities were 64-88 per cent higher than the lowland rice,
but require improved varieties bred specifically for aerobic condition. Special aerobic
rice varieties called “Han Dao” (Such as HD 297, HD277, and HD502) have been developed
by the China Agricultural University and are widely grown by farmers. In tropical Asia,
IRRI has recently iniated its work on tropical aerobic rice systems and identified that a
lowland variety”Magat” and some upland genotypes like “APO” and “CT 6510-24-1-2
“perform well under aerobic conditions.