In 2000, Metta Development Foundation, through its agricultural advisor Humayun Kabir, conducted its first experiments with SRI in Kachin State. After a disappointing first year (yields of 1.97-2.73 t/ha - apparently due to late planting) the 2001 average was 5.5 t/ha compared with the typical yield of 2.5 t/ha. In the next two years, the average remained over 5 t/ha, with a few yields reaching into the 10-15 t/ha range.
Since 2001, Metta has conducted more than 600 Farmer Field Schools (FSS) where SRI has been taught as the major strategy for rice cultivation. Kabir estimates that as many as 50,000 farmers in Kachin and Shan States who participated in the Metta-sponsored FFS training or learned the methods from participants are using SRI in various degrees; at least 15% of these, or 7,500 farmers, are believed to be using all the main practices of SRI. In 2006, Kabir completed a PhD dissertation on Adaptation and adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Myanmar using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach.
During the 2007 wet season, full-scale SRI (at least 5 to 6 of the practices) was in use on around 10,000 acres in Metta program areas. (Kabir estimates that approximately 150,000 acres are cultivated using some of the SRI practices.) Rice yields, which vary significantly with the practices used, are reported from 4 tons per hectare to 10 tons/ha, with most of the averages from 5 to 6 tons/ha (an increase of 100 to 300% over baseline yields of 2 to 3 tons/ha) (see report).
During 2008, SRI methods were introduced by Metta Foundation in lowland Ayerawadi division, which is in the ‘rice bowl’ of Myanmar. The good success there is due to good water control and farmers' desire to lower their agrochemical-related production costs. Among other NGOs working with SRI as of 2008 were: GRET in Rakhine State, GAA (German Agro-Action) in Wa region and Ayerawadi division, and World Concern in Kachin, Shan and Chin states. A consortium of 20 primarily local NGOs, known as the Food Security Working Group (FSWG) is also supporting SRI trials.
In 2009-2010, the Metta Development Foundation expanded SRI promotion with CARITAS-Swiss funding to help cyclone-affected communities in the Delta region to recover from the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Nargis. Trained in Farmer Field Schools, 633 farmers cultivated 679 acres of rice, harvesting a total of 808 metric tons of rice in three townships of the Ayerawadi division. SRI modifications included experiments with direct seeding using labor-saving drum seeders (see report). During 2013, SRI began operating through the a Farmer Field School set up in Loi Law in Kachin state by Swiss Aid and local organization Aung Sett Kyar, with funding from the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT).
- President Visits Toungoo, Bago Region; Learns of SRI from Farmers
[September 23, 2016] According to an article in the Myanmar press, President U Htin Kyaw visited a 200-acre integrated farm operated by U Than Myint, a local farmer of Moegaung Village in Toungoo, Bago Region. Accompanied by Union Ministers Dr. Pe Myint and Dr. Aung Thu, the President met with local farmers from the farm and heard the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) from Myint. In his address, the President called for creativity and diligence to bring about a better generation in a shift to agricultural mechanization. After the meeting, he observed SRI-oriented model farmlands and farming implements. [See article in The Global New Light of Myanmar.]
- Video Shows FFS Results in SRI Promotion in Metta Foundation's Nargis Post-Cyclone Initiative
[June 2014] A video published on YouTube's shwe yone channel documents results of Daw Khin Aye and her fellow rice farmers after completing Farmer Field School SRI training through Metta Foundation's Nargis Post-Cyclone Initiative. Farmers were able to double their yields by planting 8-10 day-old single seedlings and managing their fields with SRI methods.
- SRI Continues in Kachin Province through Farmer Field Schools
[November 14, 2013] SRI is being promoted through the first Farmer Field School set up in Loi Law in Kachin state by Swiss Aid and local organization Aung Sett Kyar, with funding from the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), a multi-donor fund managed by the United Nations. The pilot plot, less than half an acre, and the farmers' own fields are the classrooms. The five farmers who took up SRI in June 2013 were hopeful they could increase their yields from the usual yield of about 40 baskets to at least 70 baskets. The FFS teacher, Aung Zay Ya, is a farmer from a nearby village who graduated from a training course conducted by the Metta Development Foundation, one of Myanmar’s largest non-governmental organizations, which started promoting SRI through the Farmer Field Schools in 2001 (See article in Thomson Reuters Foundation). (For additional information on the earlier SRI work by MDF, see the Myanmar overview.)
- SRI Adapted to Upland Conditions Through the Use of Rake, Drum Seeder, and Weeder in Shan State
[January 2013] Humayun Kabir produced a video showing how the SRI can be successfully adapted to upland rainfed rice cultivation, where weeds can be the major challenge because there is no irrigated flooding. In rainfed conditions, where rice is grown by broadcasting of seeds, there is no other way of clearing out weeds except manual weeding. Generally, 25-30 laborers are needed to hand-weed an acre of rainfed rice, which makes this the major cost of rice production. In 2010, Metta Development Foundation introduced a modification of SRI for the rainfed areas of Shan State in Myanmar. The method includes a rake to make furrows in perfectly aligned rows, a drum seeder to drop seeds in the furrows at regular intervals and a rotary weeder designed for rainfed conditions. This set of implements is giving farmers nearly 100% increase in yield over that with their traditional methods (1-1.5 tons/ha to 2-3 tons/ha), while reducing their production costs to a large extent, thereby greatly enhancing their net household incomes. (See video for details.)
- Weed Management for SRI Yetzin Agricultural University Master's
In a master's thesis undertaken at Yetzin Agricultural University in Myanmar, Soe Thura evaluated the effectiveness of different weed control methods in SRI by carrying out two experiments during the dry and wet seasons of 2009. Six treatments, including a control without weeding and various combinations of hand-weeding, use of rotary weeder and herbicide application, were undertaken using a randomized complete block design. Yield loss due to weed competition in the experiments ranged from 49.97% to 74.06%. An economic analysis indicated that rotary weeding at 15 days after transplanting (DAT) followed by hand-weeding at 35 DAT was the most cost-effective weeding method for SRI when compared to other combinations of hand-weeding, rotary weeding and herbicide application (see thesis for details).
- Researchers at Taungoo University are Using SRI Methods to Grow Rice on
[August 22, 2010] According to an article in the Myanmar Times (August 22, 2010), researchers at Taungoo University are using SRI methods to grow rice on 50 acres of their 285-acre compound. In October or November they are planning to share their experience with local farmers, who are being encouraged to switch to SRI in the hopes of increasing their yield. Dr. Aung Thu, the university rector, said that three of the 50 acres will be purely organic.
- Adaptation of SRI in the Ayerawadi Delta of Myanmar by the Metta
With funding from CARITAS-Swiss, the Metta Development Foundation, an indigenous NGO, mounted a project introducing SRI to help cyclone-affected communities in the Delta region to recover from the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2009. Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) were introduced to train farmers on the principles and techniques of SRI as an entry-point methodology for restoring rice cultivation.
According to a report by Humayun Kabir, the Metta Development Foundation's agricultural advisor, 35 facilitators trained by the Metta-CARITAS project conducted 33 FFSs in Laputta, Myaungmya, Pathein and Kangyidaung townships of Ayerarwadi division in the 2009 rainy season. A total of 688 farmers (617 male and 71 female) participated in these schools, averaging 21 farmers per FFS. The project distributed drum seeders and rotary weeders to the farmers to use with SRI methods on their fields. Among those trained, 633 farmers proceeded to cultivate a total of 679 acres of rice. From the cultivated 679 acres, a total of 40,398 baskets (808 metric tons of new rice), worth US$ 202,000 at the current local price, were produced. (click on photo at right to enlarge)
Three modifications of SRI were used by these farmers. Because of the rainy season, a majority used seedlings 15-20 days old, a little older than recommended, but more than 10% of the farmers did use very young seedlings, 8-10 days old. Another 10% used the drum seeder to sow seeds in lines instead of transplanting, an option Metta wants to evaluate. Use of organic matter for soil fertilization helped to mitigate the effects of salinity.
After participating in FFS training, farmers were not only able to reestablish their rice farming, but many were able with the new methods to increase their yields as well, by about 30-100% more than their usual averages in the pre-cyclone period, around 40-50 baskets (800-1000 kg) per acre. It should be noted that most of the farmers did not use any chemical fertilizers to grow this rice this time. So, by saving this cost they enjoyed increased benefits in addition to their increase in yields.
Also, at least 20% as many farmers who had not participated in FFS training also used the new techniques on their fields, cultivating about one acre each with SRI methods. They have cultivated all together 170 acres of rice with these new methods, in addition to the area planted by the FFS farmers. Their yield came to around 10, 000 baskets (200 tons) of new rice, equivalent to around US$ 50,000.
The current season began in December 2009, and Metta staff have begun another 33 new FFSs. Nearly 1,000 farmers have started cultivating more than 1,000 acres of rice with SRI methods will harvest by April 2010. The majority have used drum seeders this time, with the second largest group using 8-10 day-old young seedlings. Only a very small percentage used somewhat older seedlings, 15-20 days, which is an indication of farmer satisfaction with the results obtained from starting with younger seedlings. The labor-saving possibilities of direct-seeding are popular with farmers. Rice yields are expected to be much higher than in the rainy season due to increased water control.
- 50,000 Farmers Estimated to be Using SRI Methods
Humayun Kabir, agricultural advisor for the Metta Development Foundation operating in northern Myanmar, figures that about 50,000 farmers in Kachin and Shan states are using some combination of SRI practices as of 2008 (see report). Over 12,000 were trained in farmer field schools on SRI methods, and follow-up studies indicate that the total number who have learned the methods through subsequent farmer-to-farmer dissemination would be about 4 times that number. (Since in Cambodia, a GTZ evaluation found that SRI farmers trained by the NGO CEDAC had spread knowledge of SRI methods, on average, to 16 other farmers, this number of four-fold dissemination seems reasonable.)
A number of other NGOs who have also taken up SRI dissemination in this and other parts of the country. This add at least another 5,000 farmers, not considering any indirect diffusion farmer-to-farmer. Even partial use of SRI methods is more than doubling previous yields, and more complete use is yielding 5-6 t/ha where 2 t/ha has been the norm. SRI is now being introduced into delta areas in the Myanmar lowlands which are the main rice-producing part of the country, and there are indications that SRI uptake will be even more rapid there.
- Humayun Kabir Completes Dissertation on SRI and Farmer Field
Humayun Kabir completed his dissertation entitled "Adaptation and Adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Myanmar Using the Farmer Field School (FFS) Approach" at the University of Honolulu (2006). The primary purpose of the study was to 1) investigate and assess the adoptability/adaptability through an FFS experience, 2) study the interactions and relationships between SRI and FFS and the particular factors that contribute to the adoption and adaptation process with SRI, and 3) assess the overall contributions and the combined effects of both SRI and FFS to improving the socioeconomic conditions, as well as the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers in Myanmar. His conclusions are outlined in Chapter 7.
- SRI Reported to be Spreading in Myanmar in 2003
In June 2003, the Department of Agriculture invited Uphoff to visit Myanmar to make a presentation, with Kabir, to Department technical staff about SRI. Evaluations and extension of SRI methods appeared to be spreading in the northeastern part of the country as of mid-2003.
- Metta Development Foundation Promotes SRI in Kachin and Shan
The Metta Development Foundation demonstrated and disseminated SRI in the Farmer Field Schools that it operates in the Kachin and Shan states in the hill regions on the Thai border. Humayun Kabir, formerly with IIRR in the Philippines was agricultural advisor. SRI performance the first year (2000) was disappointing, 1.97-2.73 t/ha, probably because the crop was planted about one month late. The vigorous tillering encouraged Metta to persevere. The next year, 2001, the average was 5.5 t/ha compared with the typical yield of 2.5 t/ha. In the next two years, the average has remained over 5 t/ha, with a few yields reaching into the 10-15 t/ha range.
- 2016. President U Htin Kyaw visits integrated farm in Toungoo Township. The Global New Light of Myanmar, September 23.[Bhutanese President U learns about SRI in Toungoo Township]
- Partners Relief and Development. 2015. 5 days of thank you - Sustainable rice farming. Partners World blog. [71 farmers took place in Partners SRI training in Shan State, Burma.]
- SWISSAID. 2014. A new rice cultivation method: hard work, but successful. SWISSAID website. August 13.
- Lei Win, Thin. 2013. Rice farmers go back to school in Myanmar's Kachin state. [SRI continues to move via FFS in Kachin state Thomson Reuters Foundation website. November 11. [Article republished in the Irrawady on Nov. 12.]
- 2013. Ferrand, Pierre and Hla Min. 2013. Introduction du SRI dans l’Etat du Rakhine du Nord (NRS) au Myanmar. AGRIDAPE 29(1): 9-10.
- Ferrand, Pierre. 2013. Adoption and adaptation. Farming Matters 19(1): 26-28. [Experiences by the Groupe de Recherche et d’Echanges Technologiques (GRET) with the introduction and dissemination of SRI in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State during 2004-2010.]
- Taylor, Fr. Bernie. 2012. New rice project in Myanmar. La Salette website. April.
- Oo, Moe Naing. 2011. A paddy rice success story: The testimony of Mr. U Win Thein. World Services Fruit Salad blog. April 1. [Article about farmer success with SRI methods in a Lutheran World Federation project in the delta region of Myanmar]
- Oo, Shwe Yinn Mar. 2010. University conducting research into rice yield. Myanmar Times, August 16-22, 2010.
- Kabir, Humayun. 2010. Adaptation of SRI in the Ayerawadi Delta of Myanmar by the Metta Foundation. Metta Development Foundation. (Yangon, Myanmar). System of Rice Intensification website. (2p., 12KB pdf)
- Kabir, Humayun. 2008. Update of SRI in Myanmar. Metta Development Foundation (Yangon, Myanmar). System of Rice Intensification website. (2p., 15KB)
- Din, Debbie Aung and Murielle Morisson. 2003. Evaluation Report: Farmer Field School for Sustainable Agriculture Development in Myanmar. Metta Development Foundation. System of Rice Intensification website. (35p., 1.35MB)
- Kabir, Humayun. 2002. The Practice of the System of Rice Intensification in Northern Myanmar. Paper presented at the international conference on Assessments of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), April 1-4, in Sanya, China.
- Government of Myanmar. 2004. Rice intensification system boosts output. Government of Myanmar website. July 24. [Covers Deputy Minister for Agriculture Brig-Gen Khin Maung's visit to see SRI plots at the Agricultural Development Training School in Naungkham Village, Hsihseng Township, Shan State (South).]
- Thura, Soe. 2010. Evaluation of weed management practices in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Master's thesis. Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar. (89p., 770KB)
- Min Hla, Pierre Ferrand, and Kyaw Zin Thant. 2009. Comparative experiences between 2 GRET projects: SRI practice dissemination in Northern Rakhine State (NRS) and Ayerawadi Delta (Bogale Township). Article presented in the FAO Workshop: Introduction of Farmer Field Schools (FFS), Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to restore food security and sustainable livelihoods in Myanmar, Yangon, June 22-23. (14p., 145 KB pdf)
- Kabir, Humayun and N. Uphoff. 2007. Results of disseminating the System of Rice Intensification with Farmer Field School methods in Northern Myanmar. Experimental Agriculture 43(4), 463-476. doi:10.1017/S0014479707005340
- Kabir, Humayun. 2006. Adaptation and adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Myanmar using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach. PhD diss., University of Honolulu. (124p., 2.47MB pdf)
- Din, Debbie Aung and Murielle Morisson. 2003. Evaluation Report: Farmer Field School for Sustainable Agriculture Development in Myanmar. Metta Development Foundation. System of Rice Intensification website. (35p., 1.36MB pdf)
- Kabir, Humayun. 2003. System of Rice Intensification in Myanmar. Metta Development Foundation. SRI.Cornell slideshare.25 Slides.
- 2014. Introduction of Rainfed SRI. 8:00 minutes. Humayun Kabir channel, YouTube. [SRI adapted to upland conditions through the use of rake, drum seeder, and weeder in Shan State]
The SRI-Rice Myanmar Photo Collection contains pictures obtained from Humayun Kabir and Norman Uphoff. (Click on the photo showing to enlarge it). If you do not have Flash installed, click here to see individual photos which are made available on Picasaweb.