Thursday, December 30, 2010

A decade of SRI: Experiences and Learnings

What is SRI:
SRI is a combination of several practices those include changes in nursery management, time of transplanting, water and weed management. Its different way of cultivating rice crop though the fundamental practices remain more or less same like in the conventional method; it just emphasizes altering of certain agronomic practices of the conventional way of rice cultivation. All these new practices are together known as System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI is not a fixed package of technical specifications, but a system of production with four main components, viz., soil fertility management, planting method, weed control and water (irrigation) management. Several field practices have been developed around these components.
Where SRI worked:
A.      SRI works in rich soils
B.      SRI works with poor farmers
C.      Works where provision for assured irrigation is available
D.      Where institutions like Panchayath raj institutions and SHGs are strong
E.       Where policies are favorable to SRI like Tripura and Tamilnadu
F.       Where political will is there like Bihar and Tamilnadu
Challenges for scaling up of SRI:
A.      Weeding and developing location specific weeders, gender neutral weeder 
B.      Transplanting: Training to labour
C.      Providing Alternate irrigation and drying
D.      Disadoption by farmers
What Tamilnadu and Tripura done for up scaling of SRI:
A.      Identification of right areas for SRI:  identified areas where SRI can be promote
B.      Spokes persons for SRI :  Identified some farmers as spokes persons for SRI and spokes persons travelled across the state and extensive coverage in media for spokes persons
C.      Tracking of farmers: Data base is created for SRI farmers and alerts for nursery raising, transplanting, weeding etc through SMS to all farmers
D.       Farmer’s associations: Formed SRI farmer’s associations at village and block (mandal) level. These farmers associations provided platform for discussions on SRI and to solve their problems
E.        Providing weeders on free of cost
F.       Motivation through awards
G.     Confidence building among farmers by  Placing extension worker at village level, organizing exposure visits and through informal meetings
H.      Involving politicians
I.        Training to labour and local artisans
Key lesions learned over decade:
A.      Tall talks like high yield, high fodder yield etc,  play against the adoption
B.      Dissemination of technology through demonstrations is not possible in SRI,  intensive handholding to farmers is necessary
C.      Technology transfer is fast when farmer’s involved
D.      Need to Invest more on resource persons
E.       Irrigation system reforms should be in favour of SRI
F.       Yield vary with variety
G.     SRI principles can be applied to other crops like Sugar cane, Ragi  etc