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Progress and Activities (1999-2008)

(for 2010-2018 news, see Bangladesh main page)
2008 Activities
  • arrow 2008 National Workshop Consolidates Support for SRI

    Dr. Muazzam Husain, chair of the SRI National Network Bangladesh, reported on a day-long National SRI workshop held in Dhaka on February 13, 2008. It was chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. M. Abdul Aziz, with Dr. C. S. Karim, Adviser (Acting Minister) for the Ministries of Agriculture and of Water Resources, attending as Chief Guest. According to Husain, almost all of the contributions to the workshop, which the Network organized in collaboration with Oxfam GB/Bangladesh, were quite positive about SRI, based upon expanding experience with its methods in Bangladesh.

    In the workshop's concluding session, the Secretary called upon the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute and upon the Department of Agricultural Extension, respectively, to carry on research on SRI and to proceed with SRI demonstrations across the country. He also requested government agencies and NGOs to collaborate in promoting SRI as an alternative method to increase rice yields and improve food security. He has followed up with letters requesting BRRI to undertake more research on SRI and for DAE to plan a training-of-trainers program for its staff. The SRI National Network Bangladesh will assist in this planning and in training, drawing on experience working with a number of NGOs already launching SRI programs in Bangladesh.

  • arrow Crop-cutting and Farmers' Field Day Session in Gaibandha District

    A crop-cutting and farmers' field day session was held in the village of Dhumaidhari, in Sundergonj Upazila of Gaibandha district on May 12, 2007, to share learning from SRI trials in the boro (winter rice) season of 2006-07. Various partner NGOs of Oxfam GB Bangladesh (SSUS, ZIBIKA, SKS, GUK, RSDA, Padakhep and POPI) have been implementing SRI with resource-poor farmers in the northern Char region and the northeastern Haor region. Fifty farmers from the northern region and 30 farmers from the NE region participated this season in SRI trials. Officials from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) including local field staff, representatives from the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), the IRRI Representative for Bangladesh, Oxfam and its partner NGOs, the SRI National Network Bangladesh (SRI-NNB), journalists from print and electronic media, and farmers attended the session. A five-member video team from Bangladesh Television (BTV) covered the crop-cutting event.

  • NBB Convenes 2006 National Workshop

    A national workshop on October 11, 2006, was convened by the SRI National Network for Bangladesh (NNB) with cosponsorship and support from Oxfam GB Bangladesh. It was hosted by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of the Ministry of Agriculture in Dhaka. The proceedings have been prepared and released by the NNB.

    Over 50 persons attended, including the executive director of the Bangladesh Rice Foundation (host to the NNB), director of research for the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), director and staff of Oxfam GB Bangladesh, directors and/of staff of other NGOs working with SRI (BRAC, SAFE, POSD, Padakhep, POPI, SKS), professor of agronomy at Bangladesh Agricultural University at Mymensingh, chairman of the Bangladesh Economics Association (who said that the BEA would include a special panel on SRI at its next national meeting), product development manager of Syngenta BD Ltd., many directors and staff of DAE, and farmer-representatives. One controversial statement came from a BRRI agronomy head, who stated that SRI will not help to meet the country's goal of increasing production to 27 million tons; only hybrid rice will accomplish this. This neglected the fact that SRI methods can add 1-3 tons/ha to the yield of hybrid rice using conventional methods.

    Note: Shuichi Sato (Nippon Koei, Indonesia) recently reported that 24 farmers cultivating 42 ha of hybrid rice with SRI methods in Bali in the 2006 season had an average yield of 13.3 t/ha. This is 58% higher than the 8.4 t/ha yield obtained with hybrids conventionally grown. Thus, if SRI methods are used with hybrid varieties (or any others), the national target rice production can be achieved more quickly and economically.

  • SRI National Network of Bangladesh (NNB) Formed

    On April 12, 2006, a meeting of the Bangladesh SRI National Steering Committee was hosted in Dhaka by ActionAid, a new member. Participants decided to establish a SRI National Network Bangladesh, in which the Bangladesh Rice Foundation would serve as the Network's secretariat and Prof. Muazzam Husain would be the national coordinator. At the meeting, a SRI training video produced by ADRA in West Timor (Indonesia) in 2003 was 'premiered' with a Bangla soundtrack. This is another good example of South-South collaboration in the dissemination of SRI. Mr. Luther Das, consultant, took the initiative in dubbing the video with the assistance of Prof. Muazzam Husain and Mr. Gopal Chowhan. Mr. Robert Patton, a consultant for ADRA, contributed the cost of the dubbing, which was much appreciated by those attending the meeting from ActionAid, Bangladesh Rice Foundation, Department of Agricultural Extension, IRRI/Bangladesh, Oxfam GB, SAFE, and Syngenta Bangladesh Ltd.

  • SRI National Network for Bangladesh (NBB) Gets Involved with NGO and Government Projects

    In 2006, the Network was involved in conducting SRI trials by Oxfam GB/Bangladesh in the remote sandy 'char' areas under its River Basin Project for resource-poor farmers. The trials found SRI to produce significant benefits under these adverse agroecological conditions as farmers received 25% higher yields and achieved profitability 78% higher than under farmers' current practice. Seed requirement was significantly less; effective tillering was 38% more; and average grains per panicle were 168 against 125 under farmers' practice. However, farmers reported various problems including cold injury to seedlings, difficulty in irrigation management, and inadequate experience.

    During 2006, the NBB was funded by the Asian Development Bank to undertake SRI trials in different regions of the country.

  • SRI Results In from River Basin Project, Boro Season, 2005-2006

    The SRI National Steering Committee has forwarded a section from a report to Oxfam-Great Britain on the final results obtained from SRI trials in the preceding boro season under its River Basin Project. The farmers in the three districts covered by the project are particularly constrained by poor soil conditions and by water management problems, but even so, with SRI methods they registered a 78% increase in net income per hectare from their rice production.

  • ActionAid/Bangladesh Conducts SRI Trials in 2005-2006

    Out of 300 farmers participating in the trials in 2006, the results of 85 were monitored, documenting an average yield increase of 36%, and a large increase in gross margin/ha, from 15,750 taka/ha with regular methods to 38,650 taka/ha with SRI. More details including agronomic parameters are given in the Action Aid report.

1999-2003 ACTIVITIES
  • SRI Arrives in Bangladesh in 1999

    The first information on SRI was brought back to Bangladesh in 1999 by Sylvie Dessilles, at the time working with CARE/Bangladesh. She had attended a conference on sustainable agriculture at Bellagio in Italy and circulated within NGO and government circles a paper on SRI prepared by N. Uphoff for that conference, later published in Agroecological Innovations: Increasing Food Production with Participatory Development (Earthscan, 2002).

  • NGOs and Government Agencies Begin Trials and Expand SRI Promotion during 1999-2001

    In 1999-2000, CARE/Bangladesh and the government Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) introduced SRI to farmers with whom they were working in Kishorganj District. The average SRI yields in that first boro season were 6.5-7.5 t/ha. At the same time, a Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) researcher at its Comilla research station who received the paper tried SRI on-station and documented a 1 t/ha yield increase attributable solely to the change in methods. Since rice yield increases had been stagnant for some years and BRRI was under some pressure to raise yields, this attracted some attention, though most researchers continued to be very skeptical.

    In December 2000, N. Uphoff, who was in Bangladesh for other CIIFAD business, visited Kishoreganj District and gave seminars on SRI for CARE/Bangladesh, BRRI (at its Gazipur headquarters), and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). These institutions plus the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) became the core institutions involved with SRI in Bangladesh. BRAC also began doing its own evaluations of SRI (see BRAC 2001 evaluations).

  • Formation of National SRI Working Group Brings together public Sector, NGO and Private Sector Institutions

    In January 2002, a meeting of organizations interested in SRI was hosted by BRAC at its headquarters. They formed a national SRI working group, with a steering committee composed of BRRI, DAE, BRAC, CARE, and Syngenta/Bangladesh, which had also tried SRI methods for two years and found them beneficial, particularly for seed multiplication. This brought together public sector, NGO and private sector institutions.

  • National SRI Workshop held at National Agricultural University at Mymensingh

    In September 2002, a national workshop organized by CARE/Bangladesh on behalf of the national working group convened at the National Agricultural University at Mymensingh. At a follow-up steering committee meeting, plans were made for systematic evaluation of SRI, which could be funded by the DFID-supported Poverty Elimination Through Rice Research Assistance (PETRRA) project. (This was managed by IRRI/Bangladesh and financed by DFID.) These studies have provided a thorough base of knowledge for understanding the advantages that SRI methods can provide. (See BRAC trial monitoring 2003, SAFE Group trials report 2003, PETRRA workshop report, PETRRA Final Evaluation 2004). A second national SRI workshop was held in December 2003 in Dhaka.

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