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 .