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Progress Report of SRI Promotional Activities
in Morang District and Other Places in Nepal

March 2005

Mr. Rajendra Uprety, Agriculture Extension Officer
District Agriculture Development Office, Morang, Nepal


After a one-day SRI review workshop organized at Biratnagar with the financial support of CIIFAD last year, SRI become an interesting new opportunity to higher authorities of the Department of Agriculture and National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) scientists, as well as to other DADOs and NGOs personnel. Soon after the Biratnagar workshop, the Crop Development Directorate of Department of Agriculture invited me to present a paper on SRI in a National Workshop of Agronomists in January. I presented a paper based on last year’s performance of SRI in Morang district. That presentation attracted the attention of many agronomists and directors as well as engineers from the Department of Irrigation. Senior Divisional Engineer Mr. Santi Kumar Haju copied my presentation (report and powerpoint) to show other co-workers in different training programs and workshops organized by the Irrigation Department. He is also editor of a newsletter published by his Department and he asked me to send an article in Nepali on SRI for his newsletter. This is going to be published soon.

We already distributed all (1,000) booklets on SRI, which were published with CIIFAD financial support. We distributed this booklet to all 75 DADOs, Directorates, Regional Agriculture Directorates, Agriculture Training Centers, the DG and DDGs of the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives for Nepal (he is professionally an agronomist), several NGOs, agriculture-based industries, and business houses. Mr. B.N. Subadi, Leaf Development Officer for Surya Nepal tobacco industry is going to initiate SRI in his working districts of Bara, Parsa and Sarlahi. The Chachan group (fertilizer importer and trader) made several copies of last year’s video CD to distribute to farmers in the Central and Western Regions up to Dang District. Surya-Agro Industry (rice-based industry) is going to take initiative to promote scented rice production with SRI. Mr. Rajesh Minda of Surya-Agro met me some days ago to discuss this subject. We are jointly going to test fine-grain scented rice with SRI methods. These rice varieties have very big demand within the country as well as for the export market. Due to their low productivity with conventional methods, farmers do not like to cultivate these varieties in large area.

The demand for SRI booklets and reading materials is still very high. Several farmers and other personnel have written letters and phoned to get information about SRI from different parts of Nepal. We are soon going to publish a second special volume of our monthly newsletter "Farmers Friend" on SRI to provide more information and fulfill demand from our farmers.

Since last month we had delivered several classes/discussion on SRI within this district and some in Sunsari District. By these training sessions and discussions we disseminated information about SRI to more then 300 farmers face-to-face. The demand for such training is still very high within the district and outside. It is very difficult to fulfill farmers’ demands by our small team (myself, Sagar Bhattrai, Kashi Kumar Chaudhari, and some leader-farmers who have some experience from last year). We are incorporating SRI plot in the Farmer Field School (FFS) conducted by DADOs and NGOs. Last month, the local FM radio "Saptakoshi FM" transmitted information on SRI through an interview with me. The National News Agency also prepared and published news on SRI through "Gorkhapatra" (the national daily newspaper). In this way we are using all available media to disseminate information about SRI. It creates a very favorable environment for SRI, but we need to facilitate new farmers in the beginning, at least for the first time. We can see the results in the coming normal-season rice and thereafter.

Within Morang District, several new Village Development Committees (VDCs) are going to be added on our list with SRI. We distributed 150 kg seeds of early rice to new growers who are going to using SRI method as an incentive for their innovativeness. More then 100 farmers brought that seed in 1 kg and 1/2 kg pocket. The area of early- season rice (chaite rice) is nearly 10% of the normal season rice. There will be hundreds of new farmers who are going to use SRI within Morang district. Besides Morang DADO, some other DADOs of Eastern Nepal are going to include SRI promotional activities in their annual program. This is good news for us and all people who want to see SRI spread for the betterment of our resource-poor farmers as well as eco-friendly sustainable development of Nepalese agriculture.

For this all, I always remember the kind inspiration, support and good suggestions of Dr. Norman Uphoff and CIIFAD. I also very thankful to my Department’s senior people, my office family, our innovative farmers and their belief in SRI, news reporters, media personnel, and NGO friends.

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