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Monitoring Water Levels for Smarter Rice Irrigation Solution by: International Rice Research Institute and Syngenta

The PaniPipe allows farmers to monitor water levels below ground, thereby decreasing the need to flood rice fields, saving fuel and improving crop protection.

The Triple Bottom Line

Environmental The technology conserves groundwater and reduces diesel fuel used to pump water.

Social The technique addresses water scarcity and enhances crop protection for food security.

When inserted into the ground, the PaniPipe allows farmers to see the depth to which the soil is saturated by simply measuring the amount of water in the pipe. The farming technique is based on the understanding that differing depths of water are optimal for growth at different stages of the plant’s life. This reduces the need to flood rice fields, saving irrigation costs and fuel used to pump water onto the fields. The management system allows farmers to make sure rice fields are allowed to dry intermittently during the rice-growing stage, promoting air circulation in the root zone. Producing rice under drier conditions also provides better crop protection to secure and enhance yield. Why a Sustainia100 solution?

Economic The estimated increased yield raises the incremental benefit per acre from $22.50 to $37.50, according to Syngenta.

Distributed free of charge, the PaniPipe allows farmers to save up to 30% of the nearly 5,000 liters of water used traditionally to produce one kilogram of rough rice, according to Syngenta. The savings in water, combined with an increased yield, allows farmers to increase their return on investment by more than 30% – in many cases taking them from a net loss to a net profit.

Farmers in rice fields are being educated on how to use the PaniPipe.

Developed: The Philippines and Switzerland

Deployed:  The Philippines and Bangladesh 

Photo: Courtesy of Syngenta


Sustainia100 2014