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.