In order to develop sustainable rice production in Asia, case studies of water-saving cultivation in Japan, and direct seeded cultivation in Northeast Thailand and Cambodia were conducted, and production, efficient water use, and labor-saving for each cultivation method were evaluated to discuss the possibility of introduction of alternative techniques in each of the target regions. In spite of world-wide agenda on scarcity of water resources, concerns for water-saving in Japanese rice production are still small in 2008, due to the priority for high rice quality and generally high rice price. If rice price gets cheaper and agricultural water cost becomes greatly charged, with concurrent improvement of the techniques, water-saving cultivation will be more readily introduced. In Northeast Thailand, transition from transplanting to dry-seed broadcasting has rapidly occurred in 1990’s but with some sacrifice of yield. Our experiments demonstrated that row-seeding improved growth and yield compared with broadcasting, but farmers were reluctant to its introduction, which indicated greater importance of labor-saving by broadcasting. In Cambodia, selection of cultivars and weed management methods, and water conditions of fields have greatly improved yield of direct seeded rice. Developing and improving alternative cultivation techniques for efficient water use, higher yield, or labor-saving, will give more quality choices for sustainable rice production. Furthermore, model development for land use and inter-industrial relationship including environments and ecosystems are thought to be also important.
rice cultivation, water-saving, direct seeding, cultivation techniques, inter-industrial relationship, sustainable agriculture