Approaches to Improvement of Crop Genotypes with High Water and Nutrient use Efficiency for Water Scarce Environments

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

1 November 2011



Start Date

1 November 2011

Expected End Date

1 November 2016

Completed Date

2 August 2017


Current concerns about the increasing global population and the impacts of climate change and climate variability on agriculture highlight the importance of the use of improved crop varieties coupled with better soil, water and fertilizer management practices and technologies for enhancing agricultural productivity and protecting the natural resource base. Improved crop varieties tolerant to environmental stresses (extreme temperature, drought, salinity and disease) have been developed under IAEA project on “Crop Improvement for high yield and enhanced adaptability to climate change”. Similarly through IAEA project on “Technologies and practices for sustainable use and management of water in agriculture” improved soil-water-nutrient management technologies were developed and / or adapted. Integrated technology packages and capacity were developed in Member States to use these, yet, the end-user, smallholder farmers, will have to adopt these for optimal efficiency. This CRP aims to explore the adoption of integrated technology packages, based on best fit soil and water management practices and adapted mutant varieties by small farmers through field demonstration set ups and farmers’ capacity development, in order to increase sustainable crop productivity in harsh environments and resource use efficiency.In selected countries (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Peru, Kenya, Vietnam, Uganda and South Africa) from Asia, Africa and Latin America, identified as part of a pilot phase study using nuclear techniques, resources were and are being assessed, in order to define and adapt best fit soil and water management practices depending on the available mutant varieties to be extended. Demonstration field studies support Farmers’ Field Days, in which smallholder farmers are availed of the availability of the specific technology packages. Improved seeds are being multiplied for distribution to famers.As the pilot phase is now completed and prove conclusive, the second phase (this CRP) is ready to be implemented through extended research and development in best fit soil and water management practices, farmers’ field days, and establishment of secondary demonstration sites in the targeted areas for further capacity development in the target areas. This will be an iterative process throughout the life of the CRP.Performance indicators for the project include the number of farmers adopting the technology packages, acreage of mutant varieties used, and possible effect on livelihoods through socio-economic data.


To increase crop productivity and food security by developing and extending rapidly to farmers the improved crop varieties and soil, water, nutrient and crop management technologies that make cropping systems resilient to environmental stresses.  

Specific objectives

To enhance nitrogen and water use efficiencies of crops tolerant to environmental stresses through best practice soil, water, crop and fertilizer management.

To increase the productivity of improved mutant varieties of crops tolerant to environmental stresses under existing soil and climatic conditions.


Yield increase from 20-108% in rice, soybean, wheat, quinoa, English potato was recorded and water and fertilizer N savings of 20-60% due to good water and nutrient management practices, were recorded.

During the 5-year period, an area of between 10,000 to 40,000 was covered with the new technology

N-15 technology was effective to measure N-use efficiency and the N saving


Current concerns about the projected global population increase and the impacts of climate change and climate variability on agriculture highlight the importance of the use of improved crop varieties coupled with better soil, water and fertilizer management practices designed to protect the natural resource base
The CRP is highly relevant because the CRP combined isotopic and nuclear techniques in soil and water management and plant breeding to improve crop productivity and food security in developing countries

CRP Publications


Journal article




(1) LIAO H. L., ZHENG J. S., LI X.P.,e tal. Analysis of yield components of two ratoon rice cultivars through mechanized production[J].Journal of Xiamen University (Natural Science),2016,55(6):853-859.(in Chinese with English abstract) (2) ZHENG J.S., SHEN R.S., LI X.P., et al. Effects of machine cut stubble height on morphological development and grain yield of subsequent ratoon rice crop [J].Fujian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2016,31(8):791-796 ( in Chinese with English abstract) (3) LIAO H.L., XIONG S.G., ZHENG J.S., et al. Preliminary study on nitrogen fertilizer application of ratoon rice cultivar Jiafuzhan[J]. Fujian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2014,29(7):646-650 (in Chinese with English abstract)


China/Xiamen University

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