The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been practiced for many years in pockets of the country of Madagascar since it was originally developed by Father Henri de Laulanié in Madagascar in the 1980′s, but with very little or no coordination and exchange of information among actors. Moreover, cultural, technical, financial and institutional constraints have hindered a wide-scale adoption of the method. Many resources have been developed and initiatives launched over the years by different groups in order to promote SRI – such as preparation of training materials, training of trainers, models/designs for small equipment, etc. – but there has been little data gathering, sharing of experiences and documenting of lessons learned existed until recently.
The Better U Foundation (BUF) initiated its activities in Madagascar in July 2007. Plans were originally to organize an SRI “summit” for ministers of agriculture from African countries in order to make the method more widely known across the continent. Following a visit to Madagascar in August 2008 by members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, program activities were re-oriented to support direct field work of partners and to boost SRI with farmers in Madagascar, with the idea being that Madagascar could become a model to inspire other countries in Africa to adopt and promote SRI.