System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

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Year 2015

SRI Cultivates well-being for women
Written by Sabarmatee Tiki , LIM Liang Chun , Oeurm Savann, Farming Matters | December 2015

It is said that ‘rice is grown on women’s backs’. Globally, around a billion people cultivate rice, of which 50 to 90 percent are women. With conventional practices, they perform backbreaking tasks like seedling removal, transplanting and weeding in bent posture and under wet conditions for more than 1000 hours per hectare. In addition, they are exposed to chemicals. But the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) enables farmers to work under healthier conditions while creating various other physical and social benefits. The consequences are significant, as we learn from women in India, Malaysia and Cambodia. check out the full interview on page 26. The direct link to the PDF is here 

Saguna Rice Technology a convergence of SRI and Conservation Agriculture
Gurpreet Singh's Blog | September 8, 2015

A small report of an exposure of Saguna Rice Technology from Saguna Baug in Raigadh practiced by Mr. Chandrasekhar Bhadsavale, who is pioneering this zero tillage method in rice based cropping system engaging principles of both SRI and Conservation Agriculture. It promises to cope challenges of deficit rainfall for transplanting in rainfed rice cultivation and worsening water scarcity around the globe. The technique promises good yield with reduction of cost of production and improved soil health with subsequent crop taken. 

Improving livelihoods of marginal farmers with solar and drip irrigation in Gaya, Bihar
Ms. Alicia Harley's Blog, Jains | July 28, 2015

In August 2013 Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. & PRAN, Gaya started a collaboration to pilot solar powered pumps and drip irrigation on Paddy in Rajapur village, Gaya district. Miss Alicia G. Harley, PhD Candidate from Harvard University provided Knowledge Support. Seven families were selected as beneficiaries for the scheme. The goal of the project was to bring benefits to vulnerable farmers as well as to examine compatibility between "SRI" and drip irrigation in paddy. The results can be seen in the attached Blog post and it was a huge success!.

How the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is changing lives in India's heartland
Ierene Francis, The Alternative (Society) | May 4, 2015

Can crop yield be increased by using less seed, water and no chemical fertilizers? When Anil Verma’s PRAN (Preservation and Proliferation of Rural Resources and Nature) approached paddy growing women farmers in Gaya district of Bihar, asking them to try SRI (System of Root Intensification) in their fields, he was met with disdainful looks. Read on to find out what System Rice Intensification (SRI) is and how it is changing lives.

Food, agriculture and justice: Building a new rice future for people and the planet
Minh Le, Global Agriculture Advisor, OXFAM Blog | March 16, 2015

The SRI doesn't just help small-scale farmers experiment with new methods but also gives people greater confidence in public spaces.

Year 2014

Huge Potential of System of Rice Intensification: SRI needs government attention
Padmakshi Badoni, SANDRP Wordpress | July 19, 2014

It is officially the monsoon season but there are no dark clouds to be seen on the horizon as yet in majority parts of the country. This year, like some previous drought years, the monsoon has disappointed and the rice crop is in jeopardy. 

Growing rice with less water: case studies from India
K. Palanisami and Krishna Reddy (International Water Management Institute)'s Blog, CCAFS - CGIAR | March 20, 2014

Agriculture already faces uncertainty due to increasing regional variations in rainfall and temperature. In India, innovative practices can help grow rice, the main staple of some river-basins, using less water. 

Sharing our field experience of SCI Practice with chickpea crop
Yogesh Bhatt's Word Press | March 10, 2014

This experience was embarked upon without any deep-based knowledge about chick peas. If anyone had asked me six months back to explain anything about the chick pea, a leguminous plant whose beans or dal are known as Chana, I really could not have done that, not even knowing what the plant looks like. In September 2013, our AKRSP-I staff sat with Dr. Satish Subedhar Ji and decided that we would try out SCI practices with chickpea crop in Dangs as this is a major rabi crop here. He shared his experience and ideas with us, and I well remember how my staff member Hitesh whispered to me: “Yogesh Bhai, it is fine that we get good SRI results with paddy, but these methods are not possible with Chana crop, and what Dr. Sahab is telling us is not applicable to our working area.”. 

Swarna - Sub1: Odisha's Food for a Goddess
Samarendu Mohanty and Debdutt Behura, IRRI Rice Today | January - March 2014

Odisha farmers embraced flood-tolerant rice not only as food on their table but as a worthy offering to Lakshmi, their goddess. Swarna-Sub1 is the flood-tolerant version of the popular mega-variety Swarna (MTU 7029) in eastern India. It was developed by scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), evaluated and released in India by Central Rice research Institute (CRRI), and disseminated by IRRI in collaboration with the national agricultural research systems, government organizations, non-government organizations, and public and private seed companies in India. 

An Agricultural Revolution in the Making? – The System for Rice Intensification (SRI) gains support
Food Tank | January 20, 2014

An alternative method for rice cultivation (system of rice intensification) promises to change the way the world’s most important food is grown. 

Rice and Shine
Dnyanesh Jathar, The Week | January 6, 2014

If not for an agricultural technique known as SRI (system of rice intensification), Sumant Kumar of Darveshpura in Bihar's Nalanda district would have remained a faceless farmer. In 2012, with the help of the state agriculture department, he tried out SRI on an acre that usually bore only modest yields. It worked, and Sumant got a bumper harvest. An evaluation of 50sq.m revealed that the yield rate was 22 tonnes of paddy per hectare, more than the world record of 19.4 tonnes by Yuan Longping, the Chinese agricultural scientist known as the father of hybrid rice. 

Year 2013

40-year old Malathi from the Musahar community in Bihar
World Bank Facebook | December 26, 2013

When a Village Resource Person of the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project supported by IDA told Malathi about the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) ─ a scientific technique for increasing the productivity of irrigated rice cultivation by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients ─ Malathi decided to try it. With her hopes high, she acquired additional land on lease. Her yield came out 60% higher using SRI than the traditional method. She now has food security year round and additional cash in hand. 

Toxic harvest
Sandhya Sekhar, Down to Earth | September 15, 2013

Eating rice grown in arsenic-contaminated water can damage genes. Arsenic toxicity has been linked to a host of cancers, and skin and vascular diseases.

The joint-study, by scientists from the CSIR Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Kolkata and the University of Manchester in the UK, has now established that arsenic has a toxic effect on human genetic material, a phenomenon known as genotoxicity. 

From animosity towards collaboration
Dr. Biksham Gujja and Dr. Norman Uphoff, Agricultures Network | April 25, 2013

In an elaborate blog post with the title ‘Why the animosity?’ [16 April 2013], Bas Bouman of the International Rice Research Institute poses some critical questions about the ‘discord being cultivated’ in the March 2013 issue of Farming Matters, dedicated to the topic of Sustainable Rice Intensification (SRI). Dr. Bas Bouman’s blog on SRI “Why the animosity?” is very welcome and a positive contribution to making progress in the rice sector. Since the common goal is to “contribute to a more food-secure, less poor and more environmentally friendly world,” Dr. Bouman suggests that there be collaboration with the powerful “movement” of SRI. Surely everyone working on improving rice production around the world should work together and avoid animosity. 

SRI: Why the animosity?
Dr. Bas Bouman's blog, IRRI | April 16, 2013

In my first blog titled “Spectacular rice yields,” I already broached the topic of SRI—the System of Rice Intensification. Last week, I was reading the March issue of the ILEIA (Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture) journal Farming Matters, which is exclusively devoted to SRI, and I was impressed again by the strength of the SRI movement in catalyzing innovations in rice production. 

System of Rice Intensification - More Much than More Rice
Farming Matters | March 2013

However we look at it, the System of Rice Intensification, or SRI, is a major success story. While researchers are still debating its relevance, more and more people and getting to know about it, and more and more farmers are harvesting the results.

From Madagascar to more than 50 countries, and from rice to other crops, the dissemination of SRI has been impressive. This is a fascinating case study of innovation from below, involving local authorities, "champions", extension agents and millions of farmers. 

System of Rice Intensification - A scaling up success
LEISA India | March 18, 2013

System of Rice Intensification, popularly known as SRI, is described in various ways – as a knowledge intensive alternative, an innovation, an approach etc. SRI is being accepted by large number of farmers…who are not only realizing the benefits but also sharing their learning's with others. SRI principles are now being adapted to various other crops too. NGOs in partnership with enthusiastic donors, and few state government’s too are popularizing the alternative. However, support at national policy level has been limited. A wide gamut of experiences sharing how SRI is working and spreading are presented in this issue. 

The Whole Truth On A Grain Of Rice - An international row over a 'world record'
Uttam Sengupta, Outlook Business | March 11, 2013

“It’s 120 per cent fake,” Professor Yuan Long Ping (82), hailed as the father of ‘hybrid rice’ in China, had fumed last week in reaction to the claim that five farmers from Bihar had all individually grown more rice per hectare than the ‘world record’ of 19.4 tonnes per hectare in China—the best figure being 22.4 tonnes. He would believe the claim, he said, only if the record was repeated. Dr Norman Uphoff of Cornell University goes on to elaborate, “These results were achieved with hybrid var­ieties which derive from Yuan’s own innovation of hybridising rice, considered for decades by most rice scientists to be impossible.” Adds Amir Kassam of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, “Go to the fields and see the evidence.” 

Another new rice yield record? Let's move beyond it
Dr. Achim Dobermann's blog, IRRI | February 25, 2013

Nine years ago, I published one of the first papers that tried to provide a critical analysis of the biological principles underlying the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and its potential to improve rice production. My curiosity at that time was aroused by some huge rice yields that had been reported in the SRI literature, with some farmers in Madagascar apparently having harvested rice crops with a grain yield of 15.0 to 23.4 t/ha. Naturally, I wondered whether that might actually be possible, and, if so, what one might be able to learn from that. 

Year 2012

Smallholders fulfil their households’ needs with a new way of farming rice
IFAD | December 2012

The System of Rice Intensification is an innovative set of best practices for rice farming that is affordable to smallholders. In Burundi, Madagascar and Rwanda local farmers are reaping the benefits of increased yields after adopting the system in their fields. In many countries of East and Southern Africa, rice is a staple food for rural households. In the 1980s a Jesuit priest living in Madagascar, Fr. Henri de Laulanié, discovered a new way of farming rice that significantly increases production. The new set of practices, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), is a way of producing more with less, by using fewer inputs – particularly less water, seed and chemical fertilizer. Traditional practices keep rice fields constantly flooded and do not require much water management. Seedlings are generally transplanted from the nursery to the field after three or four weeks, and in groups of three or four seedlings. With SRI instead, the soil is kept alternately dry and wet, allowing the plants’ roots to take oxygen from the ground surface. Seedlings are transplanted very young, one by one, in square patterns to allow spacing between rice plants. These measures enhance the roots’ growth and increase yields. 

SRI: An evolving learning alliance
Bas Bouman, IRRI's Magazine 'Rice Today' (Page No. 42) | October - December 2012

Dr. Bas Bouman writes that SRI has evolved into a participatory learning alliance that offers farmers a suite of management practices and adapt according to local conditions. This flexibility makes SRI difficult to evaluate - however, it offers opportunities for linking with other networks/institutions that are developing improved rice management practices for farmers. When observing farmers using SRI in the field, the categorical clarity of SRI (as defined by H de Laulanie) disappears and the boundary with other best management practices begins to dissolve. At the end Dr Bouman points out that new tools like IRRIs Leaf Colour Chart etc. being developed by researchers at the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) can be easily linked to the SRI movement. 

The Perfect Harvest: AgSRI's Innovative Solutions are ensuring bountiful gains for farmers
Michael Correya, Outlook Business | September 1, 2012

As the road snakes out of Hyderabad, the scenery gets progressively greener. The fields spread as far as the eye can see, and about a 100 km northwest of the Nizam's city, lies Huggelly village in Zaheerabad mandal. Medak district. It is the site of an ongoing project that hopes to bring common sense to agricultural practices, raise crop yield and delivery 'more with less' in agriculture. There among the sugarcane crops, farmers voice their opinions on the 'new' method taught by Dr. Biksham Gujja and his team. It's nothing remarkable, just plain common sense," says Gujja, founder of AgSri, an organization that helps farmers improve agricultural systems. 

Year 2010

Down to Earth - Cover Story : Saving Rice
Author(s): Latha Jishnu, Aparna Pallavi and SAyantan Bera, Down to Earth | December 16-31, 2010

Rice is at the heart of a fierce strategy debate as the country prepares to launch the second Green Revolution in the eastern states. Policymakers and scientists have drawn up ambitious plans to increase the productivity of this cereal which feeds two-thirds of Indians. Enormous funds are being poured into research aimed at improving seed varieties, with a heavy focus on developing hybrid rice. Is it the right option for millions of small rice farmers who are already battling high input costs and increasingly unpredictable weather? Or does part of the solution lie in efficient methods of cultivation that will cut down water use and improve yield? LATHA JISHNU analyses these varied strands as she visits research institutes and gets down into the paddy fields of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to understand what might work. She discovers that traditional rice varieties are making a significant comeback in Odisha—as in Karnataka, where APARNA PALLAVI finds some farmers have abandoned high-yielding varieties in favour of indigenous varieties and organic farming to
meet the challenges of climate change. From West Bengal, SAYANTAN BERA reports that the largest rice producing state has a different set of problems to contend with if it has to reap the promise of the new Green Revolution.


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