WHERE DOES SRI COME FROM?

SRI was developed in Madagascar through the efforts of Fr. Henri de Laulaniè, S.J., who spent 34 years of his life working with poor farmers there, to help them reduce their poverty and hunger by improving their production of rice, the source of more than half of Malagasies’ calories. He sought to rely on simple methods that would not require purchase of external inputs.

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) was developed as a set of insights and practices that change the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients used in growing irrigated rice. These concepts and practices can be adapted for growing rice that is unirrigated or rainfed as well as other crops.

what

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION

SRI is considered as a methodology rather than as a technology since it consists of concepts and practices to be adapted by farmers to their local conditions for best results. SRI is not a fixed set of things that farmers ‘must’ do. Using SRI methods requires no material inputs beyond what farmers already have, just a change in thinking and practice.

NOT A NEW TECHNOLOGY

We refer to SRI as a system or as a methodology, a system of practices based on a coherent set of concepts and principles that produce desired results. Why not call SRI a ‘technology’? This term implies something that is fixed and final, something to be used as instructed — rather than as something still evolving and improving, season by season, as more experience is gained and as more farmers, scientists and others apply their intelligence and insights to making rice production more efficient and sustainable.

KEY SRI PRACTICES

SRI recommendations change what are often age-old methods for growing irrigated rice. This means that even though the practices are simple, they may not be readily adopted. It is important always to emphasize the reasons for making changes in practice: to promote bigger, healthier root systems that support larger, more productive plants that grow in more fertile soil systems.

why sri

  • Give higher yield – more tons of rice per hectare or per acre.
  • Require less seed and less water – because plant populations are reduced, and paddy fields are not kept continuously flooded.
  • Do not require purchase of external inputs – since chemical fertilizer or agrochemical protection are not necessary.
  • Do not require the purchase of new seeds – since practically all rice varieties give higher yield with these methods, though some high-yielding varieties respond better than others.

how it works

  1. Age of seedlings. Young seedlings are transplanted
  2. Number of seedlings. 1-2 seedlings per hill
  3. Spacing of plants. Wider spacing, with hills.
  4. Water management. Non-flooded aerobic soil conditions with intermittent irrigation
  5. Soil fertilization. Organic matter is preferred.
  6. Weed and pest control. Manual weeders.

BENEFITS OF SRI

BENEFITS FOR THE POOR

SRI was purposefully developed to benefit poor, resource-limited, food-insecure households who needed to get the most productivity attainable from the small amount of land they manage and from available supply of household labor, with less water if possible, and without having to buy external inputs (new seeds, fertilizer, agrochemicals) that can push them (further) into debt.

BENEFITS FOR FARMERS

We refer to SRI as a system or as a methodology, a system of practices based on a coherent set of concepts and principles that produce desired results. Why not call SRI a ‘technology’? This term implies something that is fixed and final, something to be used as instructed — rather than as something still evolving and improving, season by season, as more experience is gained and as more farmers, scientists and others apply their intelligence and insights to making rice production more efficient and sustainable.

BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

SRI methods are not only beneficial for people but also for the natural habitat and biodiversity. The most direct benefit is through reductions in water requirements. Rice is the ‘thirstiest’ crop in the world, requiring several thousand liters of water to produce 1 kg of rice when using conventional rice-growing methods with continuous flooding.

THE NUMBERS BEHIND THE METHODOLOGY

YIELD INCREASES

Sri rice crops are better able to resist pest and disease damage as well as tolerate drought, storm damage, extreme temperatures, and other stresses brought about by climate change, especially in Africa.  For this reason, SRI produces increases in grain yields 50-100% or more than traditional rice growing methods.

WATER SAVINGS, HIGHER INCOME

Up to 50% water savings compared to overflooding of rice patties in a traditional rice growing environment. There is also a staggering 68% increase in income per hectare when the SRI methodology is used to grow rice.

REDUCTION IN COSTS

The SRI methodology reduces costs by reducing the requirements for seeds, water, chemical fertilizer, pesticides, and often labor. Sri reduces cost up to 20% less per hectare than traditional rice growing methods.