Thursday, August 30, 2012

Research Articles on SRI in India.... And Elsewhere

SRI-Rice at Cornell University has put together a bibliography of research articles about the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India. We have collected over 100 articles (nearly all from scientific journals)  from India that were published between 2004 and 2012. The chronological collection can be found on our SRI-rice website at Articles from India make up about a third of the 300+ SRI journal articles we have collected from around the world. (Unfortunately, less than 30 of these appear to be freely available to the public through the internet; the rest are locked up in subscription sites -- though happily the abstracts are generally available.  A red dot on a title indicates the free ones so that people won’t be frustrated by trying to open them.)

 In addition to the static chronological list of Indian SRI journal articles, these items are also available in our RefWorks India research database with  searchable metadata (including abstracts). (The RefWorks database site DOES have some non-journal items as well while the chronological list does not).

Worldwide Resources
In addition to the above resources on Indian research, we maintain a chronological  list of SRI research from all countries as well as a searchable global database (with abstracts and other metadata). Both of these are  accessible from the research section of our SRI-Rice website. (Remember to click on the “view button” to access complete metadata and the WorldCat button to find the nearest library that has the resource).

If you know of any articles that we have missed, don't hesitate to send us note at or you can add them to the comments box below.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

EARTH DAY: Farmers Using the System of Rice Intensification are Doing Their Part

Using less water in MaliEarth Day, which falls on April 22 this year, is of course very relevant to SRI! Using less water, less agrochemicals, and less seed to get higher yields can help reduce the growing assault on the earth's resources and environment. The System of Rice Intensification also has a role to play in mitigating climate change by 1) reducing standing water (see photo at left), leading to decreased methane emissions; 2) reducing inorganic fertilizer use, leading to decreased carbon and nitrogen emissions from manufacture of fertilizers and their subsequent transportation over long distances; and 3) sustainable increases in the productivity of existing land, preventing the conversion of carbon sequestering forests to agricultural uses.

Harouna with SRI rice plant in MaliHowever, while SRI does help to protect the environment, using SRI methods also helps farmers to adapt to climate change: Stronger roots (as shown at right by Harouna in Timbuktu) help rice plants resist lodging in inclement weather, better withstand drought conditions, and, as indicated in recent reports from Sri Lanka, even help withstand flooding!  Since less water is required, more farmers can share the available water when increasingly unpredictable weather patterns cause water shortages. In fact, state governments in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, and elsewhere in India are currently promoting SRI, partly due to water savings with SRI.

Of course, benefits are not all related to climate change. Increased yields, another advantage of SRI, have been reported in 50 countries, and, in Kenya, Bancy Mati will soon release research results on how SRI water management breaks the mosquito breeding cycle and shows good prospects for malaria control.
 What's the secret to SRI success? Some of the answers can be found in our April 22  SRI-Rice Feature Article!

Friday, April 13, 2012

SRI RESEARCH: More Published Articles than You Might Think!

Although System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods are now being used in at least 50 countries worldwide, there are still skeptics asking, "Where's the scientific proof that it really works?" For those who want a closer look at the science behind SRI, SRI-Rice at Cornell University has collected nearly 250 journal articles about SRI. And, we would like to share our bibliography with the global SRI community and others who would like to know what research is being done and what is being found.

See the April SRI-Rice Feature for information on accessing the SRI journal article citations and database. (Although many research articles are not free, the abstracts are available). There is still much research we haven't found. If you find something not included in our list, please send it out way:!

Friday, March 30, 2012

INDIA: SRI Concepts Applied to Direct-Seeded Rice in Andhra Pradesh

As an "open source" climate-smart innovation, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is intended to be modified by users.   While originally developed for transplanted, irrigated rice, SRI principles have been adapted to fit both farmer needs and the agroecosystem. One adaptation, which  involves direct-seeding rice with a drumseeder, is being promoted by the Rashiya Seva Samithi Acharya Ranga Krishi Vigyan Kendra (RASS-KVK) in Tirupati, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, India.

RASS-KVK began experimenting with the drumseeder SRI adaptation for direct-seeding in 2006; by 2011, 658 farmers are using the method on 1,220 acres in Chittoor district.  Direct seeding with a lightweight drumseeder (shown at left) can reduce labor and time requirements through eliminating nursery-raising and transplanting, and results in a uniform plant population that matures earlier by 7-10 days. Comparison of the modified SRI method with traditional methods in Chittoor showed the average yield was higher (12%), cultivation costs were lower (by 25%), gross returns were greater (10%), and net returns were much higher (76%) with the direct-seeding.

On February 23, 2012, Nageswar Rao (right) , the first person to adopt the modified SRI drumseeder method in his area, received the Best SRI Farmer Award for the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. For more information on using the RASS-KVK direct seeding method, see the SRI-Rice feature article which includes videos and an updated report by P. Bala Hussain Reddy, S. Sreenivasulu and C. Manohar.

Monday, February 20, 2012

KENYA: SRI Adoption and Yields on the Rise

Bancy Mati at SRI harvest According to Bancy Mati (at left), the driving force behind SRI promotion and research in Kenya and professor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is now well-accepted just two and a half years after the practice was introduced into Mwea Irrigation Scheme. Approximately 3,000 farmers have been trained in SRI methods and adopters now number about 2,000 in the four irrigation schemes (Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea). Mati estimates that thousands more have been reached through radio broadcasts (also in local languages), newspaper articles, exhibitions and open days sponsored by the JKUAT open days.

 This 2011-2012 season has shown good results with yields: Up to 9 t/ha for the lower-yielding Basmati variety compared to 5 t/ha with conventional management and over 17 t/ha for a high-yielding IR variety compared to 9 t/ha without SRI practices. Research findings also indicate water savings ranging from 25% in dry weather to 33% in wet weather. Several graduate theses have proven the benefits of SRI and additional research is underway by graduate students and staff of JKUAT, Mwea Irrigation Development Centre (MIAD), and recently Moi University. MSc research has also shown that show that SRI water management breaks the mosquito breeding cycle, showing good prospects for malaria control!

Kenyan farmers as well as other rice stakeholders are excited about SRI. A bag of SRI paddy reportedly weighs 10-20 kg more than that of conventional rice, mostly because of greater grain filling (fewer unfilled grains). When milled, the SRI rice has more whole grains (less breakage) so it sells faster, sometimes earning KSh2/kg (˜2.5¢/kg) more than conventional rice.

As part of the regular training to reach the unreached, an SRI field day was held  in Mwea on January 30, 2012. The training was conducted almost entirely by several of the 115 farmers who have completed the Training of Trainers (ToT) course. [Read more in the Kenya Feature on the SRI-Rice website.]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

SRI LANKA: Evidence of Flood Resistance in SRI Paddies

It is not unusual to hear reports of rice fields planted with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods that do not lodge (fall over) in inclement weather or that can resist drought when the rains disappear. These positive outcomes are, at least in part, attributed to stronger, deeper roots that result from SRI practices. Now, reports from Sri Lanka suggest that SRI fields can be less susceptible to flood damage as well. Farmers in the north central region noticed that the paddy fields under SRI cultivation had not suffered as severely during recurring floods as per the experience in the northeast. According to an Oxfam Australia (OAU) report, this helped renew interest in SRI during 2010/2011. The report further mentions that research in Sri Lanka linking arsenic-related health problems to agricultural chemicals used in rice production have spurred an additional interest in organic SRI. (See Feb. Feature item for more information on this and the SRI Network in Sri Lanka).

As SRI generates more positive results, SRI network partners have been featured in newspaper articles, radio broadcasts and telecasts. Chaminda Fernando at OAU in Sri Lanka forwarded us several of these stories. Mohommed Ismail Rizana (at right), a woman farmer in Ampara District, achieved almost 80 bushels of rice with organic SRI methods, a 45% increase over average rice yields in the area (see full story).  R. M. Heenmenike, originally tried SRI in 2008 to save water. After her success in adopting organic SRI methods, she has become a volunteer SRI trainer and has been featured in newspaper articles and a video. (Read Heenmenike's story.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

AFGHANISTAN: Raising Yields with the System of Rice Intensification

According to the Aga Khan Foundation - Afghanistan (AKF-A) SRI final report for 2011, 114 farmers, including seven resource persons (RP) and twenty new volunteers, have been applying System of Rice Intensification methods for rice cultivation in two districts of Baghlan and Takhar provinces, as part of the Participatory Management of Irrigation Systems (PMIS) project, managed by AKF. The project is part of the larger government-led Panj-Amu River Basin Program (PARBP), which is funded by the European Union.

DAIL and RP taking field measurements in the field In both districts (Doshi in Baghlan Province and Taloqan in Takhar Province), the average results clearly show a net improvement in SRI yield compared to the yield with the traditional practices (10.01 t/ha with SRI vs. 5.04 t/ha with traditional methods -- an average combined yield increase of + 49.65% for both districts.)

You can read more about SRI progress in Afghanistan in this week's Featured Item on the SRI-Rice website.

Monday, January 23, 2012

CHINA: Agricultural Water Savings with Adapted SRI Practices in Sichuan

SRI (System of Rice Intensification) has become Sichuan Province's preferred rice production method since 2005, with reports of the provincial yield record for rice being broken year after year. By 2010, the SRI area in Sichuan Province had reached over 301,067 ha, starting from 1,133 ha in 2004.  For the period 2004-10, the total additional benefit of using SRI methods in Sichuan was almost USD 320 million at the current rate of exchange, accompanied by reduced costs and less requirement of water.

Agriculture consumes 80% of the total water resources in Sichuan Province, which has a population of 88.6 million. A recent article by Zheng Jia-guo and his colleagues the Crop Research Institute, SAAS, Chengdu, details how they are adapting SRI to conserve water in that province as well as how this may change in the future. With modified SRI practices, both WUE (Water Use Efficiency) and IWUE (Irrigation Water Use Efficiency) were shown to be higher than with the traditional practices, by 54.2% and 90.0%, respectively, significantly reducing water consumption. [See more on how SRI is being adapted to conditions in Sichuan]

For more information on SRI in China, see our SRI China page.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

HAITI: Update on SRI Two Years after the Earthquake

Two years after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, a number of depressing news reports have come out questioning where all the aid money went and what progress has already been made. Following the introduction of SRI soon after the earthquake by USAID's WINNER Project and the BUF/SRI-Rice initiative, however, SRI methods have continued to show steady progress in Haiti. WINNER's continued success is highlighted in an article on the U.S. State Department website, posted two years to the day after the event, that notes "Yields for rice under the System of Rice Intensification, where less water, fewer seeds and less fertilizer are used, were 64 percent higher."

In an NPR radio interview about Haiti with Neal Conan, Rajiv Shah, USAID's Administrator, cites SRI as an example of successful agricultural innovations in recovery efforts: "In rice, they're using a system called the system of rice intensification, which allows them to use less water, less fertilizer, more safe inputs. And they're seeing a big increase, doubling or tripling of yields, and a 75 percent increase in farm incomes because of that program, which has now reached almost 10,000 farm households, and we believe will reach 125,000 over time." Another article in the Miami Herald by Shah adds: "When we piloted a program designed to intensify rice yields in the areas surrounding Port-au-Prince, the results were staggering: Haitian farmers saw their yields increase by almost 190 percent, while using fewer seeds and less water and fertilizer. The farmers cut 10 days off their normal harvest and increased their profit per acre. Today that program is being expanded to reach farmers throughout the country. Instead of importing rice from other countries, Haitians will soon be able to purchase and consume more of what they grow"
 The Better U Foundation is also planning to expand their support for SRI in Haiti in 2012. Another article posted on the earthquake anniversary notes that Oxfam is now working with 135 farmers on adapting SRI methods on their farms in Haiti as well. From our experiences and the reports of others over the past two years, it seems that SRI methods are well-suited to helping Haitians increase their rice production.
For more information on SRI in Haiti (reports, articles, videos, photos), see the SRI-Rice Haiti page.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    SRI Gaining Momentum in Latin America - - Cuba

    Cuba SRI Workshop Focuses on Water Saving and Mechanization
    Following on the momentum generated by the First SRI Workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean held  Oct 31 - Nov. 1, 2011,  in Costa Rica, a workshop was held in Cuba to discuss the potential  of integrating the System of Rice Intensification  (SRI in English and SICA in Spanish) methods into Cuban rice production systems. Cuba’s newly-created Agricultural Engineering Research Institute (IAGRIC) coordinated the workshop in Havana, December 12-16, 2011, to discuss the crucial situation with respect to water usage for rice on the island as 47% of the total water dedicated to agriculture is consumed by rice production.

    There were 55 participants, including officials from FAO and UNDP, scientists/technicians from two research institutions (In Granos and IAGRIC), representatives from the Popular Rice Group (MINAG) and three types of coops (CCS, CPA and U BPC) and private producers.  Erika Styger, from SRI-Rice at Cornell University, also prepared material that was presented at the workshop.
    The participants, who came from the five major rice growing regions in the country, spent five days talking about the problems associated with Cuba's increasing water shortage, followed by discussions about the possibility of addressing them by introducing, the System of Rice Intensification, a new way of growing rice. The workshop was intended to promote the new programs related to agricultural decentralization on the island. The program and summary of the workshop are available in English and Spanish
     For additional information on the development of SRI in Cuba over the past few years, check the Cuba page on the System of Rice Intensification website.
    For those interested in SRI (SICA) in Latin America, you might want to join the Spanish language listserv, SICA America Latina found at .