Friday, November 13, 2009

SRI mechanization in Pakistan

In Pakistan's Punjab Province, Mr. Asif Sharif has designed and tested four machines/implements that enable him to cultivate with SRI concepts and adapted methods on a large scale. The results of the first full mechanization of System of Rice Intensification cultivation methods (called MSRI for "mechanized SRI") have been recently reported on the SRI website. Yields averaged 13 tons/ha. Mr. Sharif devised/modified the implements to substantially reduce the labor requirements for capitalizing on SRI inherent production potentials – and to reduce the crop water requirements by 70% over usual levels of irrigation in Punjab state of Pakistan. (See details of the MSRI process provided by Sharif). The implements include a raised bed maker (that can also carry out banding with compost and fertilizer), a water wheel transplanter (see video), and a precision weeder/soil aerator (see video), among others. An Urdu language interview with Mr. Sharif which was broadcast on Pakistani TV is also available (part I and part II).

Many others around the world have developed or improved upon SRI-related implements and labor-saving machines. We have reported earlier on mechanical transplanters adapted for SRI in Costa Rica and Iraq; and there are others we haven't reported on (for example, here's a farmer-made SRI transplanter in Tamil Nadu) or haven't found yet. Improvements on the rotary weeder used in SRI, including many motorized versions, are ongoing in many countries- especially India. (The WASSAN website has much information on weeders).These are topics for another day.

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