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Correspondence on on-farm trial with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
during the 2003 monsoon season in Taruwa village, Bardiya District, Mid-West Nepal


Dear SRI Group Members,

An on-farm trial with the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) was conducted in the 2003 monsoon season in Taruwa village, Bardiya District, Mid-West Nepal, with the technical cooperation of two NGOs, i.e., Samudahik Bikash Saastha, Gulariya, and SAGOAL, Nepalgunj.

The trial was conducted on one farmer's field, which was divided into two plots:
• Plot 1 (SRI I) Area: 0.058 ha
• Plot 2 (SRI II) Area: 0.0542 ha

Pre-soaked seeds (24 hrs) sown on 12 June 2003 in dry nursery. The variety was PL84.

• SRI I on day 15, with planting distance of 30 cm, single plant per hill.
• SRI II on day 17, with planting distance of 15-20 cm, 1-3 plants per hill.

• SRI I: from 5-40 (average 18 productive tillers)
• SRI II: from 3-31 (average 16 productive tillers)

No compost application, but part of the plot had been used to grow vegetables which had received compost during the winter.
• SRI I: urea top dressing one time
• SRI II: urea top dressing two times

Only pulling out weeds; digging was not possible because fields were flooded due to no drainage facility.

• SRI I: total yield 252 kg = 4.35 t/ha
• SRI II: total yield 264 kg = 4.87 t/ha
• Nepal national average = 2.5 t/ha

• SRI II performed slightly better than SRI I under the conditions of these trials.

• Water control was impossible. Plots were flooded from around day 30. This resulted in less tillering and poor root development.

• Due to these reasons SRI II with higher planting density performed better. Still, the result is quite good without the use of inputs.


• Use of compost and good land preparation.
• Growing Dhaicha as GM beforehand.
• Early sowing of a longer duration variety.
• Transplanting between day 8-10.
• Drain field before transplanting to get thicker mud, which makes it easier to mark grid for planting distances.
• Experiment with different planting distances.
• Mechanical weeding for soil aeration.
• Better water management.

On 26 April 2004, we organised an information meeting for interested NGOs and farmers in Gulariya, Bardiya. There was an attendance of 25 persons, many of them farmers with whom Samudahik Bikash Saastha is working, but also representatives of NGOs like SIMI Nepal, Caritas, and Rural Reconstruction Nepal.

A presentation was given about SRI, and the experience and results gained from the trial in Taruwa were shared with the audience. I uploaded the presentation to my website which can be viewed at the URL:

After the presentation, Prem Naryan B. K., the farmer from Taruwa who tried SRI, shared his experience enthusiastically. He recalled one lady saying to him, when she saw the transplanted seedlings: "You must be a fool to plant rice like that. You will eat not a single grain from this field!" A few weeks later, that same lady was surprised to see how well the plants had developed. She said: "I said that you are a fool, but now you have proved that I am the fool when I see that nice field!".

Prem emphasized that he did not understand much about this new system when he planted according to SRI principles. A lot of mistakes were done, but these helped him to learn for the coming season, and now he would know much better how things should be done.

He said that he was amazed by the tillering of the rice plants, and how heavy the filled panicles were compared to the rice grown according to local practice.

Prem is so keen about SRI that he plans to plant all his fields in the next season according to SRI principles. He has been called by farmers in Kanchanpur District in Far West Nepal to teach them about SRI.

Author: Andreas Jenny
SAGOAL Nepalgunj (10 May 2004)
Mr. Andreas Jenny, Socio-Economic Development Officer
SAGOAL - Tackling Poverty, Changing Lives
Mail: P.O. Box 1230, Kathmandu, Nepal
Office: Deva Phulbari Chowk, Nepalgunj, Banke District


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