Global SRI Updates
- System of Rice Intensification or SRI, today has enabled millions of farmers to advance agriculture for themselves. By adopting SRI methods, smallholder farmers in many countries are starting to get higher yields and greater productivity from their land, labor, seeds, water and capital, with their crops showing more resilience to the hazards of climate change. The ideas and practices that constitute SRI were developed inductively in Madagascar some 30 years ago for rice. They are now being adapted to improve the productivity of a wide variety of other crops – being referred to generically as the System of Crop Intensification (SCI), encompassing variants for wheat (SWI), maize (SMI), finger millet (SFMI), sugarcane (SSI), mustard (rapeseed/canola)(another SMI), teff (STI), legumes such as pigeon peas, lentils and soya beans, and vegetables such as tomatoes, chillies and eggplant. Producing more output with fewer external inputs may sound improbable, but it derives from a shift in emphasis from improving plant genetic potential via plant breeding, to providing optimal environments for crop growth.
- One of Cambodia’s pioneer hailed for advancing System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in this country – Yang Saing Koma, has been nominated for the Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012. Instituted in 1957, this is Asia’s highest civilian honour and named after the Third Philippine President. Koma is associated with establishing the Cambodian Center for Study & Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) credited with introducing the sustainable rice production system for small-holder farms. In electing Yang Saing Koma to receive the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Award – regarded as Asia’s Noble prize equivalent – the board of trustees recognized his creative fusion of practical science and collective will, that has inspired and enabled vast numbers of farmers in Cambodia to become more empowered and productive contributors to their country’s economic growth.
- The first ever conference on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in West Africa was organized from 26-27 July, 2012, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. More than 60 participants from 13 West African nations came together to share experiences on the SRI methodology and to discuss its potential for boosting rice productivity in the Economic Community of the West African States. The workshop was organized by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), the National Center of Specialization for Rice (WAAPP Mali) and SRI-Rice (Cornell University) within the framework of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP). Oxfam America sponsored participation for civil society representatives. The conference was the first step in developing a regional platform for adapting SRI practices to different African rice cropping systems and scaling up SRI in West Africa.
- The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is gaining ground across Asia as more and more governments come to rely on it for food security. SRI is the counterpart in agricultural development of a viral idea in social media, imposing its way from the ground to the top. SRI methods are being successfully applied to other staple commodities like wheat and sugarcane in various parts of the globe, to mustard, finger-millets and vegetables in India, and teff in northeast Africa. Governments are actively promoting SRI in countries like China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. It has progressively been on the move in East and South Africa. The spread of SRI in Cambodia has been cited as one of 15 Asian success stories in the MDGs endeavour. SRI is becoming the main rice cultivation system in most of southern China and today, this sustainable methodology is seen as vital to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
- Nalanda district in Bihar, India, has set a new global record in paddy production under field demonstration of intensified rice cultivation. Cultivation of paddy under the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in wetland farming organised at farmers’ field during Kharif 2011 has yielded a record 22.4 tonnes per hactare while dry land cultivation yielded 20.16 tonnes per hectare. Both dry land and wetland yields have thus surpassed the yield of 19 tonnes/ha, which was recorded earlier in China. Sumant Kumar – a progressive farmer from Darveshpura village under Katrisarai block of the same Nalanda district yielded 224 quintal paddy per hectare beating the world record of Yuan Longping of China with 190 quintals of paddy produce per hectare. Kumar achieved the feat through the System of Rice Intensification methodology, which was introduced in this district in 2008.
- The first International Workshop on SRI in Latin America and Caribbean was organized jointly by SRI-Rice (Cornell), Earth University (Costa Rica) and the Better U Foundation (Los Angeles) from October 31 to November 1, 2011 in Costa Rica. This was a historic event as for the first time, SRI practitioners from Latin America came together to share their experiences to develop a more sustainable agriculture system that increases food security for small holder farmers. A total number of 27 participants from South America, Central America, Caribbean and the United States participated in the two day event.