While presentations on SRI in Haiti began as early as 2004, no field trials began until the 2010 earthquake called the world's attention to Haiti's plight. Following the earthquake, two initiatives to introduce SRI to Haiti began in parallel. The first initiative was a collaborative effort between SRI-Rice at Cornell University, Better U Foundation and a number of NGOs working in Haiti. SRI was introduced to six sites across the country. The second initiative is undertaken by the USAID funded project Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER), where demonstration plots were installed in three sites. As of March 2011, the results from nine sites across the country and two seasons showed that SRI method is more productive and more profitable than the traditional method.
Based on the promising results, a two-day National Colloquium on SRI in Haiti was co-organized end of March 2011 by SRI-Rice, the Better U Foundation, and the WINNER project, under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture. One hundred twenty participants, among them NGOs, bilateral and multilateral programs, government researchers and extension services, the private sector and a large number of growers exchanged their experiences and started to develop a roadmap for SRI expansion in Haiti. During 2012, two years after the Haiti Earthquake, reports indicate that SRI is an innovation showing great success in Haiti; WINNER project rice yields for USAID-assisted SRI farmers reportedly increased by 64 percent during 2010-2012 while national figures show a decline of 17 percent due to a prolonged dry season. During October 2012, a World Hunger Relief, Inc. (WHRI) experiment showed SRI plots that received no fertilizer yielded an excellent 4.2 tons/ha, indistinguishable from those receiving nearly 350 kg/ha fertilizer.
- World Hunger Relief, Inc. (WHRI) SRI Experience in Haiti Shows Mixed Results
According to a World Hunger Relief, Inc. (WHRI) October update, Rene Njamnshi's SRI trial demonstrated the value of this low-input, high-yielding rice management approach. Rene is a WHRI intern from Cameroon who managed the controlled, replicated experiment from February through June; his Haitian co-workers harvested his plots after he left. Under SRI management, which maximizes nutrient use efficiency by optimizing water management and plant spacing, plots that received no fertilizer yielded an excellent 4.2 tons/ha, indistinguishable from those receiving nearly 350 kg/ha fertilizer.
However, as noted in Neil Miller's October trip report, many of the ongoing trials facilitated by WHRI during the last season in both Ferrier and the Masak region were hit hard by the drought and many of the fields did not produce. While some farmers will be replanting using SRI methods in the coming season, labor issues remain a concern. WHRI will reevaluate how SRI fits in the agriculture practices in 2013.
- 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 (see Huffington Post article, for example) 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 Rajiv 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 (see also CNN article) . 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.
- WINNER Project Expands after Successes in Several Areas
While WINNER reports that SRI has showed quick adoption rates after introduction into the Cul-de-Sac, Mirebalais, and Gonaives regions of Haiti beginning in 2010, WINNER support for SRI is being added to the Matheux corridor plains (primarily as a rotation crop with plantain) beginning with demonstration plots of an average size of 1,000 m2 that will be established throughout the corridor (October 2011 and September 2012). A 2012 WINNER report writes that "one of the most successful and spectacular innovations was the introduction of SRI ... First results show that yields increased from 2.5 T/ha on average to 4.5 T/ha, with a peak at 11 T/ha in Bayonnais and Mirebalais. Net farmer income jumped from $933/ha to $1,913/ha. With SRI, we introduced the conic weeding machine, unknown in Haiti, to clean rice fields more rapidly and more effectively. One of the clear results of this technical innovation is to drastically cut production costs and make Haitian rice very competitive compared to imported rice."
- WINNER Project Releases Video on SRI
A video about SRI, A Simple Formula, is now available on YouTube. Produced by John McKenzie Media LLC in collaboration with Chemonics, the video documents opinions of farmers about SRI, which they learned from the Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environment Resources (WINNER) project that is funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics International. An August 26 article notes that WINNER trained 128 farmers in SRI methods during the 2010 agriculture campaign and that, due to its adaptability, SRI is proving to be successful in different environments in Haiti. The 2010 SRI campaign, which involved an 300 hectares, was expected to reach 700 hectares by the end of the 2011campaign.
- National Colloquium on SRI in Haiti Held during March 2011
As of March 2011, the results from nine sites across the country and two seasons showed that SRI methods are more productive and more profitable than the traditional method. Based on the promising results, a two-day National Colloquium on SRI in Haiti was co-organized end of March 2011 by SRI-Rice, the Better U Foundation, and the WINNER project, under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture. One hundred twenty participants, among them NGOs, bilateral and multilateral programs, government researchers and extension services, the private sector and a large number of growers exchanged their experiences and started to develop a road map for SRI expansion in Haiti. (See French language article in Le Nouvelliste and English article in Léogane Magazine). Pictured at right are Jim Carrey (left) from the Better U Foundation, Erika Styger (center), SRI-Rice Director, and Jean Robert Estime (right), head of the WINNER project. A video about Jim Carrey's visit to Haiti is available on the Better U Foundation website.
- SRI Initiative Launched in Haiti During 2010
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, two initiatives to introduce SRI to Haiti started in parallel. Both initiatives used the same technical approach and worked in different zones across the country.
- SRI-Rice/ Better U Foundation Initiative
The first initiative, a collaborative effort between SRI-Rice, Cornell University, Better U Foundation and a number of NGOs working in Haiti, is intended to promote SRI in order to help Haitians improve food security and increase the profitability of growing rice. The objectives of the first phase (June 2010 to March 2011) were to i) establish an understanding of how well SRI practices perform under conditions in Haiti in three departments, ii) work with and mobilize partners established in Haiti and iii) support a first national meeting on SRI where interested partners are invited to evaluate the first experiences and develop a strategy on how to move forward.
A three week training was organized in June 2010, where 123 farmers and technicians received practical training in three regions of the country: Les Cayes (South Department), Ferrier (North East Department) and Verrette Artibonite Department). This was done in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Service of Evangelisation, Education and Development (S.E.E.D.) Center for the South, with World Hunger Relief, Inc. and World Hunger Relief-Haiti for the North East and for Artibonite with the Training Center of Leveque, Organisation de Développement de la Vallée d’Artibonite (ODVA), Oxfam Intermon, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), the Church of Brethren, Center of Father Armand Francklin and Kore Pwodiksyon Lokal (KPL). (See training report).
Trained farmers installed SRI plots in six sites: Les Cayes, Ferrier, Verrette, Desarmes, Accajou and Pandiassou. A follow up visit to all the sites during the cropping season, showed distinct improved performance of the SRI rice crop compared to the neighboring fields and that farmers were greatly interested in SRI. (See follow up report.)
Since the June 2010 trainings, several groups have tried out SRI. One of these groups, World Hunger Relief, Inc., discussed the constraints and progress of SRI plots that were planted by several farmer in Ferrier in a report by Neil Miller.
- WINNER initiative
The second initiative is undertaken by the USAID funded project Watershed Initiative For National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER), which installed demonstration plots in the plain of Cul-de-Sac, Central Plateau (Mirebalais) and Gonaives. Winner's objective is to increase agricultural productivity and farmers' income by intensifying agriculture based on environmentally sustainable methods. Within their 5-year program (2009-2014), the first SRI crop was planted in June 2010, followed by the second in September 2010. WINNER's approach is to work on the entire value-chain, from seed selection to post-harvest and marketing. Based on the 2010 results, WINNER plans to scale up SRI in their areas of project intervention.
- Miller, Neil Rowe Miller. 2012. Trip Report: Ferrier, Haiti September 26 â€“ October 3, 2012. World Hunger Relief, Inc. website.
- Estimé, Jean Robert. 2012. USAID Frontlines again refers to Haiti WINNER. Jean Robert Estimé blog. April 19. [see 12th para.: rice yields for USAID-assisted SRI farmers increased by 64 percent in the last two years, while national figures show a decline of 17 percent due to a prolonged dry season.]
- DeCamp, Susan. 2012. Growing more with less in Haiti lac extra. USAID website. March 12. [see 12th para.: rice yields for USAID-assisted SRI farmers increased by 64 percent in the last two years, while national figures show a decline of 17 percent due to a prolonged dry season.]
- Etienne, Yolette. 2012. How women are lifting up Haiti. CNN Opinion website. January 15.[The piece, by Yolette Etienne, country director for Oxfam, is about SRI success (9th paragraph) by a young woman in the Artibonite River valley of northern Haiti]
- Shah, Rajiv (interview by Neal Conan). 2012. USAID's Shah Assesses Pace Of Haiti Recovery. NPR website. January 12. [Interview on National Public Radio - transcript and audio].
- 2012. 1) Cul de Sac and 2) Matheux Corridor. USAID WINNER website, Areas of Intervention section. January 14.
- Shah, Rajiv. 2012. Haiti 'a country undeniably on the move'. The Miami Herald, Other Views section, January 11. [SRI reference in paragraph 8]
- 2012. Haiti - Two years later. U.S. Dept of State website. January 12. [Report from the Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator. Reference to SRI is in the Food and Economic Security section, first paragraph]
- Shah, Rajiv. 2011. Our Continuing Commitment to the People of Haiti. Impact blog. September 17. [USAID blog report written by Rajiv Shah, the current USAID Administrator]
- 2011. Haitian farmers increase rice production. USAID WINNER website. August 26. [Article on USAID's Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER) Project progress during 2010-2011]
- 2011. Jim Carrey Supporting Rice Production in Haiti. Léogane Magazine, April 2.
- Libereayiti. 2011. Jim Carrey and partners visiting a demonstration plot of the IRS in Montrouis. Ayitinou, April 1.
- Daudier, Valéry. 2011. L'acteur américain Jim Carrey supporte le riz local Le SRI : une pratique pour augmenter la production rizicole. Le Nouvelliste, March 31.
- Miller, Neil Rowe. 2010. Trip Report: Ferrier, Haiti. December 3-11, 2010. World Hunger Relief, Inc. website.
- Miller, Neil Rowe. 2010. Building enthusiasm in Haiti - Report from Ferrier. World Hunger Relief, Inc. website. June 16.
- Styger, Erika. Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to Haiti. System of Rice Intensification website. September 28. (13p., 13.10MB). [Trip report on follow-up field visit, August 30–-September 10, 2010, on behalf of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development and the Better U Foundation]
- Styger, Erika and Joeli Barison. 2010. Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to Haiti: Training programs with farmers in three regions of Haiti. System of Rice Intensification website. June. (18p., 823KB pdf). [Report for the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development and the Better U Foundation]
- Miller, Neil Rowe. 2010. Trip Report: Ferrier, Haiti, June 7-28, 2010. World Hunger Relief, Inc. website.
- Barison, Joeli, Erika and Norman Uphoff. 2010. Le Système de Riziculture Intensive (SRI). PowerPoint presentation given at June 2010 SRI trainings in six sites in Haiti. 30 slides.
- Shah, Rajiv (interview by Neal Conan). 2012 (January 12). USAID's Shah Assesses Pace Of Haiti Recovery. NPR website. 16:56 min audiofile. [Interview on National Public Radio - transcript and audio].
- 2011. System of Rice Intensification - Haiti Video. Produced by Better U Foundation, Better U Foundation website [Jim Carrey travels to Haiti to support SRI and other efforts.]
- 2011 (September 8). A Simple Formula. Produced John McKenzie Media LLC in collaboration with Chemonics. 3:26 min. ChemonicsInt channel, YouTube. [Video about SRI activities in the Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environment Resources (WINNER) project that is funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics International.]
The SRI-Rice Haiti Photo Collection contains photographs taken by Erika Styger and others during her trips to Haiti in 2010 and 2011. Click on inidividual photos showing in the slideshow at the top of the page to enlarge them or to see captions. If you do not have Flash installed, click here to see individual photos that are made available on the Picasa website. See also the photos with map location.