On August 18, 2009, a meeting of stakeholders was held at the headquarters of the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, located in the Kirinyaga district of the Central Province, to formally launch the evaluation and demonstration of SRI in Kenya. The meeting was organized by Bancy Mati, program manager of the IMAWESA Network (for Improved Management of Agricultural Water in Eastern and Southern Africa), and Jean Njiru, former Humphrey Fellow at Cornell who has now returned to Kenya and is helping get SRI introduced in her country, with assistance from Markus Wolfe, irrigation specialist in the World Bank office in Nairobi.
The initiative to evaluate and promote the adoption of SRI in Kenya began as a multi-stakeholder, participatory 'project' combining research, capacity-building and outreach activities. Spearheaded by IMAWESA, the partners include the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD), the World Bank and World Bank Institute (WBI), the Mwea Irrigation Agricultural Development (MIAD) Centre, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the National Irrigation Board (NIB), the Ministries of Agriculture and of Water and Irrigation (MWI), the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, the private sector, and the farmers themselves.
The World Bank Institute organized a videoconference on September 11, 2009, that enabled the experimenting Kenyan farmers to interact with persons in other African countries and India who have considerable personal experience with SRI crop and water management to be able to advise on best SRI practice. A subsequent Stakeholders' Meeting on the System for Rice Intensification was held January 27, 2010, at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) complex at Girgiri, Nairobi. Later that year, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), through its Research, Production and Extension's Innovation Fund, began supporting a three-year SRI research and capacity-building at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. The World Bank Institute organized an SRI study tour to several SRI projects in India for 18 African officials and project staff from six countries during June 2010. Kenyans participated in a third WBI videoconference on climate-smart agriculture August 24, 2011.
The First National SRI Workshop was held May 7, 2010. In July 2010 an SRI Resource Center was opened at MIAD in Mwea Irrigation Scheme in Kirinyaga District in Kenya's Central Province. The National Irrigation Board (NIB) and JKUAT began implementing a six-month project in July 2011 to scale-up SRI in the Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea Irrigation Schemes.
By 2012, approximately 3,000 farmers have been trained in SRI methods with adopters now numbering about 2,000 in the four irrigation schemes (Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea). Bancy Mati reported yields up to 9 t/ha have been achieved with Basmati rice and over 17t/ha for a high-yielding IR variety; water savings ranged from 25-33%, depending upon the season. An article published in the March 2012 edition of the International Journal of Current Research and Review showed water productivity (kilograms of rice per cubic meter of irrigation water supplied) averaging 120% higher for the three varieties under SRI management.
- Article on SRI Water Productivity in Mwea Irrigation Scheme Published in the International Journal of Current Research and Review
An assessment of water productivity for rice production using SRI methods and the traditional continuous flooded rice practice in Mwea, Kenya, was published in the March 2012 edition of International Journal of Current Research and Review. The article by J.A. Ndiiri, B.M. Mati et al, Comparison of water savings of paddy rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) growing rice in Mwea, Kenya, reported on field experiments conducted in 2010/2011 at Mwea Irrigation Agricultural Development (MIAD) of Mwea Irrigation Scheme (MIS) during the main 2010-2011 growing season. The results showed that SRI methods gave the highest water-saving and yields for all the three varieties. Yield increased by 0.6t/ha, 2t/ha and 1.5t/ha while water savings were 2528m3/ha, 2268m3/ha and 2846m3/ha for the Basmati 370, BW 196 and IR 2793-80-1 varieties, respectively. Similarly, calculations showed water productivity (kilograms of rice per cubic meter of irrigation water supplied) averaging 120% higher for the three varieties under SRI management (2.16 kg/m3 vs. 0.98 kg/m3).
- SRI Adoption and Yields Improve with Capacity-Building Efforts
Bancy Mati (right), the driving force behind SRI adoption and research in Kenya, has provided a document summarizing how SRI is evolving there. Just two and a half years since the practice was introduced in Mwea, it is evident that SRI is now being well-accepted. Approximately 3,000 farmers have been trained in SRI methods and adopters now number about 2,000 in the four irrigation schemes (Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea). Mati estimates that tens of thousands have been reached radio broadcasts (also in local languages), newspaper articles, exhibitions and JKUAT open days.
This 2011-2012 season has shown good results with yields: Up to 9 t/ha for the lower-yielding Basmati variety compared to 5 t/ha with conventional management and over 17 t/ha for a high-yielding IR variety compared to 9 t/ha without SRI practices. According to research findings, water savings have ranged from 25% in dry weather to 33% in wet weather. A few farmers had access to rotary weeders, but more are anticipated in the coming year.
Kenyan farmers as well as other rice stakeholders are excited about SRI. A bag of SRI paddy reportedly weighs 10-20 kg more than that of conventional rice, mostly because of greater grain filling (fewer unfilled grains). When milled, the SRI rice has more whole grains (less breakage) so it sells faster, sometimes earning KSh2/kg (˜2.5¢/kg) more than conventional rice. It is interesting to see farmers who have not openly adopted SRI changing their behavior too: Some have reduced flooding of their paddies with water, while others are planting in lines and at wider spacing. As part of the regular training to reach the unreached, which includes those who are slowly leaning towards SRI, an SRI field day was held at the Wamumu block in Mwea on January 30, 2012. The training was conducted almost entirely by several of the 115 farmers who have completed the Training of Trainers (ToT) course.
SRI Continues to Progress in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme
Sixty-four participants attended a November 18 training of trainers (left) in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in response to the increasing enthusiasm for SRI in the area. According to Bancy Mati, several thousand people in Kenya have now received SRI training, and many more have learned about the exhibitions at international agricultural shows, radio messages and press events. She added that there are now 839 registered SRI farmers this season, though she believes there are many more who have not been counted. One woman farmer who was trained during a special "ladies' training" in 2009 now has 15 acres planted with SRI methods. Dr. Mati is currently organizing an exchange visit to western Kenya for the Mwea group to help expand SRI knowledge to this region.
- Farmers in Mwea Experience SRI Benefits in Weather Event
Farmers' opinion of SRI was further strengthened during a freak storm in early November that caused widespread lodging of the conventional plantings but left the adjacent SRI fields largely untouched. While some recovery of the non-SRI fields occurred the following day, the photos of the flattened non-SRI fields (near right) compared to the unaffected SRI fields (far right) convinced many farmers that they were on the right path going forward with SRI in their area. Farmers in other countries have experienced similar benefits of SRI in severe weather, probably due to the stronger root systems and stalks encouraged by SRI methods (see Philippine article on typhoon damage and Vietnam photo of SRI after storm).
- Kenyan SRI Stakeholders Participate in Global Video Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture
Bancy Mati, the Kenya SRI Coordinator, made a presentation on SRI in Kenya during a video conference organized by the World Bank Institute that connected Kenyan farmers, researchers and staff from government agencies with stakeholders in India, Philippines, Burkina Faso and USA. The video conference, South-South Knowledge Sharing of Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices, was held at the Kenya Development Learning Centre (KDLC) in Nairobi on August 24, 2011. The event was the culmination of a three-day training of trainers that brought together 40 participants from Ahero, Bunyala, West Kano and Mwea Irrigation Schemes.
The presentation covered the status of rice production in Kenya, the current initiatives and history of SRI in Kenya as well as research and outreach efforts. SRI research efforts involving a PhD student and three MSc students include quantifying yields, economic returns, and water savings from SRI as well an assessment of mosquito survival under SRI. Farmers are also involved in various trials. Capacity-building through workshops, field days, and invited trainers from India and Japan have resulted in 1,800 individuals being trained in SRI methods as of August 2011.
Dr. Mati noted that research has proven that SRI can be effective in the Kenyan context. Aggressive awareness-creation through presentations and printed matter along with hands-on training has resulted in good adoption rates with SRI showing good acceptance in all four irrigation schemes. SRI yields in Mwea are 6.0 - 8.5 t/ha, compared to 5.0-6.0 t/ha under conventional local practice with net increase averaging 0.98 t/ha. SRI rice was found to be heavier, weighing 100-110 kg compared to the 85-90 kg using conventional methods. Net average income for SRI increased 28% with SRI while required inputs were reduced - 20% as much seed was needed and water requirements were reduced by 25% under SRI compared to conventional flooded paddy.
SRI success in Mwea has resulted in increased government support, with the National Irrigation Board extending SRI initiatives to Ahero, West Kano and Bunyala Irrigation schemes during 2011(see item below).
- New SRI Project Targets Four Irrigation Schemes
In May 2011, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) approved the implementation of a short-term project to facilitate expanded adoption of SRI in Kenya. The project targets all rice farmers in the Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea Irrigation Schemes, as well as extension workers, irrigation engineers and other support agents.
The project, which is focused on capacity building, adaptive research and outreach activities, is being implemented by the NIB and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The Project Leader, Prof. Bancy M. Mati of JKUAT, works closely with the managers, staff and farmers of the four irrigation schemes: Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala, and Mwea. Dr. Mati is shown at right at the launch of the project in West Kano (see article on project roll-out).
- Mwea Field Day Focuses on Transplanting
A field day was held on July 21, 2011, to kick-start the main rice season in Mwea. Farmers continue to make progress toward adapting and adopting SRI practices. As shown at left, Karanja's field was transplanted at 30 cm spacing with 8-day old seedlings from the nursery (right), which was on dry ground. (Click on photos to enlarge them).
- SRI Featured in World Bank Institute Article on "Climate Smart Agriculture"
A recent article by the World Bank Institute on "climate-smart agriculture," which increase the productivity and resilience of crops and reduce greenhouse gases at the same time, highlights the development of SRI in Kenya. After two farmers in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme successfully tried out SRI in 2009, fourteen farmers began using SRI during 2010. By the 2011 season, over 200 farmers were applying the new method in Mwea. In addition to higher yields, the article includes a quote from one of the farmers: "I will not go back to the traditional rice cultivation practice, because SRI rice has less breakage and better quality. It sold very fast on the market."
- The First National SRI Workshop in Kenya
The first national workshop on SRI in Kenya was held on May 7, 2010 at the African Institute for Capacity and Development (AICAD) campus in Juja, near Nairobi. The workshop was planned and implemented as a collaborative, cost-shared activity by the partners, notably JKUAT, IMAWESA, NIB and AICAD. The event was attended by 83 participants, including researchers, senior government officials, representatives of NGOs, the private sector, farmers from Mwea and Ahero schemes, and rice out-growers from Kirinyaga district. The workshop participants made recommendations to promote SRI in the country and drew up action plans for follow-up. The workshop was instrumental in spreading the existence of SRI to the general stakeholder base of Kenyans associated with irrigation, water resources management, capacity-building and the rice value chain. It also also helped raise awareness and improve the recognition of SRI at higher policy levels in Kenya.
FOR 2009 AND ADDITIONAL 2010 SRI ACTIVITIES, see SRI Kenya Archives
- Cherono, Stella, and Angela Oketch. 2012. New rice technology boosts yields, quality. Business Daily, December 6.
- Nyamai, M., B. M. Mati, P. G. Home, B. Odongo, R. Wanjogu, and E. G. Thuranira. 2012. Improving land and water productivity in basin rice cultivation in Kenya through System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal 14(2):1-9.
- Ndiiri, J.A., B.M. Mati, P.G. Home, B. Odongo, and N. Uphoff. 2012. Comparison of water savings of paddy rice under System of Rice Intensification (Sri) growing rice in Mwea, Kenya. International Journal of Current Research and Review 4(6):63-73 [Note: The cited link downloads the entire issue; click here to see only the 456KB Ndiiri article]
- 2012. KENYA: SRI adoption and yields on the rise.Global SRI News and Views blog. February 20.
- 2012. Featured Item: Kenya: SRI Farmers now turned into trainers in Kenya! System of Rice Intensification website. February 20.
- Mati, Bancy, 2012. SRI farmers now turned into trainers in Kenya! System of Rice Intensification website.February 17. (4p. 91KB pdf) [Report detailing the spread of SRI in Kenya]
- Mati, Bancy. 2011. Up-scaling the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Ahero, West Kano, Bunyala and Mwea Irrigation Schemes. System of Rice Intensification website. (5p. 43KB pdf)
- 2011. From problem to solution: Making agriculture climate-smart. World Bank Institute website, World Bank In Action section. April 13.
- Mati, B. M., R. Wanjogu, B. Odongo and P. G. Home. 2011. Introduction of the System of Rice Intensification in Kenya: Experiences from Mwea Irrigation Scheme. Paddy and Water Environment 9:145-154. DOI: 10.1007/s10333-010-0241-3
- Mburu, Ngondi. 2011. Kenya: New rice planting system saves water, seeds. African Agriculture website. September 26. [source: Business Daily Africa - article is no longer online]
- A.V. Ragunathan. 2010. Kenyan team studies SRI project. The Hindu, June 26, Tamil Nadu section.
- 2010. New rice farming system takes root in Mwea scheme. Daily Nation (Kenya), May 5, Business News section, Online edition.
- Mati, Bancy M. 2009. System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Growing more rice with less water. Brief notes on promoting the adoption of SRI in Kenya. Improved Management of Agricultural Water in Eastern & Southern Africa, Kenya. System of Rice Intensification website. (6p. pdf)
- The First National Workshop on SRI in Kenya
Date: May 7, 2010 at the
Venue: African Institute for Capacity and Development (AICAD) campus in Juja, near Nairobi.
Cosponsors: The workshop was planned and implemented as a collaborative, cost-shared activity by the partners, notably JKUAT, IMAWESA, NIB and AICAD.
- Field days & SRI trainings:
- Mwea - August 5, 2010, December 7, 2010, July 21, 2011and November 18, 2011
- SRI Open Day - November 4, 2010
- Stakeholders' Meeting of the System for Rice Intensification (SRI)
Date: January 27, 2010
Venue: World Agroforestry Centre complex at Girgiri, Nairobi
Organizing Partners: Improved Management for Agricultural Water in Eastern and Southern Africa (IMAWESA)/IFAD, Mwea Irrigation Agricultural Development (AICAD), World Bank (WB), World Bank Institute (WBI) and AICAD
- Video conference: Producing More with Less Water and Farm Inputs for Climate Adaptation: Knowledge Sharing on System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
Date: Friday, September 11, 2009
Sites: Nairobi, Kenya; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Kigali, Rwanda; Chennai, India; Washington, DC, USA
World Bank Institute (WBI), The World Bank, Improved Management for Agricultural Water in Eastern and Southern Africa (IMAWESA) , Africa Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD), Global Development Learning Network (GDLN)
See presentations and outline of conference (log in as "guest")
- Mati, Bancy. 2012. System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Growing More Rice While Saving on Water. System of Rice Intensification website. (12p, 638KB pdf). [Updated version of the original 2009 SRI training manual for farmers in Mwea, Kenya. Hard copy published in cooperation with Jomo Kenyatta University and the National Irrigation Board.]
- Nyamai, Matolo, Bancy Mati and Andrew Gidamis. 2010. Mfumo wa Kilimo Shadidi cha Mpunga (MKiShaMpunga). System of Rice Intensification website. (16p. 6.82MB pdf) [Kiswahili language SRI manual developed for Kenyan farmers in conjunction with Jomo Kenyatta University, AICAD, IMAWESA and WBI and translation assistance from Sokoine University of Tanzania]
- Mati, Bancy M. and Matolo Nyamai. 2009. System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Growing More Rice While Saving on Water. Improved Management of Agricultural Water in Eastern & Southern Africa, Kenya website. (6p. pdf). [An information brochure used for SRI training on SRI in Mwea, Kenya.]
- 2012. Promoting the Adoption of SRI through Participatory Research and Outreach in Kenya: SRI - Growing More Rice with Less Water. PowerPoint presentation by Bancy M. Mati (SRI Projects Coordinator at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi), April 18, 2012, at a workshop on the Rice-EA project, Nairobi, Kenya. 35 slides.
- Mati, Bancy. 2011. Introducing Kenyan Participation: Producing More with Less Input through SRI – the System of Rice Intensification. PowerPoint presented by the Kenya SRI Projects Coordinator at the videoconference on South-South Knowledge Sharing on Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices, KDLC, Nairobi, 24th August 24. 16 slides.
- Ravichandran, V. K., and Mei Xie. 2010. Knowledge Travels – From India to Kenya, South-South Knowledge Sharing on SRI PowerPoint presented at the videoconference Global Learning Development Network (GDLN) session linking Mali, Madagascar and India, Feb. 9. 18 slides. [see also French version]
- SRI-Rice Kenya Photo Collection is provided by Bancy Mati. The photos are running as a slideshow in the summary section at the top of the page. Click on the photo showing to enlarge it or to show captions. If you do not have Flash installed, click here to see individual photos which are made available on Picasaweb. (See also photos from ALL countries).