PHILIPPINES SRI ARCHIVES (1998-2009)
(For more recent activities, see Philippines main page.)
- SRI-Pilipinas Primer Now Online
A September 7, 2011, news article alerts those in the Philippines that a manual and more information on SRI can be obtained by contacting the SRI-Pilipinas Network as their text hotline (0939-117-8999). Earlier this year, this Pilipino language primer, which is used by the network in their SRI trainings was made available online. Entitled Ang Sistema ng Pagpapalago ng Palay (Sipag-Palay o SRI), the 4-page pdf can be downloaded and reconstructed into an 8-page primer. Those who want more information on SRI in the Philippines can also contact SRI-Pilipinas coordinator Roberto Verzola (firstname.lastname@example.org) for hard copies of the primer or to arrange an SRI training session (almost) anywhere in the Philippines.
- Philippines SRI Network Targets 50 Municipalities
SRI-Pilipinas is a network of Philippine farmers' organizations, NGOs, and active as well as retired academics and government officials who are promoting farmers' trials nationwide of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). The network launched a one-year training project in August 2010, targeting one-day SRI training session in 50 municipalities in the Philippines, which has a total of 1,500 municipalities.
The one-day training includes a half-day of lectures on SRI principles and practices, and a half-day of hands-on work, which usually involves the transplanting of 8-12 day old seedlings on a 200-500 sq.m. trial plot. Each training typically involves around 25 participants, who have committed to try the SRI method themselves after the training.
As of midway through the project, the network had scheduled or already conducted one-day training in 34 municipalities located in the following 15 provinces: Negros Oriental (9), Negros Occidental (3), Nueva Ecija (3), Camarines Sur (3), Sorsogon (3), Zamboanga del Sur (3), Compostela Valley (2), Iloilo (1), Guimaras (1), Agusan del Norte (1), Lanao del Sur (1), Mindoro Oriental (1), Kalinga (1), Tarlac (1), Cotabato (1). Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental together cover the island of Negros, where the local provincial officials have declared a policy that it will become an "organic island" by 2020.
The one-day trainings are supported by a funding of P500,000 (around US$11,400) from Oxfam Great Britain. The project also includes mailing free SRI primers to individual farmers who send, via text/SMS, their postal address to SRI-Pilipinas, as well as distributing an SRI training video prepared by the World Bank Institute.
According to SRI-Pilipinas coordinator Roberto Verzola (email@example.com), the initiative focuses on building a network of SRI trainers nationwide, who have at least two seasons of successful experience with the method, so that the SRI network in the Philippines can respond to requests for training from farmers or local governments anywhere in the country.
"With the shift in government policy towards rice self-sufficiency and organic agriculture, we expect greater demand for trainings in SRI and the organic method, and SRI-Pilipinas is well-positioned nationwide to do so," Verzola said.
- Columbio Farmers in Mindanao Visit SRI Farmers in Palimbang,
Local Government Unit (LGU) of Columbio and Rural Development Institute of Sultan Kudarat (RDISK) sent 27 farmers from a number of villages of Columbio and staff from RDISK and LGU for a two-day SRI field trip to Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, November 23-24, 2010. The group, whose visit was arranged by the NGO Pasali, met the SRI farmers of Palimbang, toured SRI rice fields and also tried the motorized weeder that Pasali has been promoting for weeding with SRI. They were encouraged and planned to practice the SRI system on their farm in each respective villages.
- Pasali Farmers Train NGO Participants in Mindanao; Motorized
Four organizations sent participants to the Pasali Philippines Foundation Palimbang in Mindanao on July 7-9, 2010, for SRI training. The training was done by the farmers themselves rather than by Pasali staff. The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Philippines based in Davao City and its partners, Kadtuntaya Foundation (KFI) from Cotabato City, Kasilak Development Foundation (KDFI) from Kidapawan City and Kaanib Foundation Inc. (KFI) from Bukidnon, sent 24 representatives (agro-enterprise facilitators) from various municipalities. It is hoped that they will go on to train 9,000 farmers throughout Mindanao.
Pasali has been promoting SRI since 2006, and now has 33 farmers with each cultivating ½ to 1 hectare dedicated to SRI. During June 2010, Pasali recently trained 100 more farmers in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, but it is not yet certain how many are practicing SRI since the training was only recently completed. A prototype of a Pasali single-row DC battery-drive motorized weeder was designed and fabricated by Pasali’s technical center and machine shop in Brgy. Kanipaan, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines (see video and blog post). The weeder, which was designed for battery drive with a solar-charging station as a renewable energy source, is used by all SRI farmers in Palimbang and other adjacent municipality. CRS plans to make the weeder available to SRI farmers through its partners.
- 2009 National Workshop-Conference of SRI Trainers held in Luzon and
The 2009 National Workshop-Conference of SRI Trainers, jointly hosted by SRI-Pilipinas, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), was held September 28-30, 2009, at the BSWM in Quezon City. Despite strong floods resulting from Typhoon Ondoy, 34 participants attended the meeting. For those who could not attend due to the typhoon, a second meeting was held on November 20-22, 2009, at the ATI Training Center in Kabacan, Cotabato, with 20 participants attending. Both meetings included updates and sharing of experiences by the participants, assessment of the training module, review of the principles and practices of SRI (and local innovations), discussions about a new funding proposal for the SRI-Pilipinas network, and Norman Uphoff's international update. A tradition in SRI-Pilipinas meetings, also a highlight of both meetings, was the sharing of seeds among participants. (see workshop/conference report for details).
- SRI-Pilipinas Provincial Training Program Completes Trainings in 49
Roberto Verzola, coordinator of the SRI-Pilipinas network, has provided a report on the national SRI training program initiated by SRI-Pilipinas, an informal consortium of NGOs, academics and government researchers who are promoting the use of SRI in the Philippines in an organic context. The program was supported by the Department of Agriculture with a grant of P875,000 through the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). According to Verzola, who supervised the training program, SRI-Pilipinas held 50 trainings in 49 provinces throughout the Philippines which benefited an estimated 1,000 farmers. Though not all farmers adopted SRI, an estimated 5% (50 people) of the trainees have mastered the method and are now in a position to conduct trainings themselves, providing SRI-Pilipinas with a core group of experienced SRI farmers and trainers nationwide, who can help implement the next phase of the national SRI training program. SRI-Pilipinas fields trainers only after they have had at least two seasons of experience in applying SRI practices.
The next phase of the SRI training program includes replicating the previous trainings in municipal-level trainings and incorporating the improvements adopted from the SRI trainers' meeting. SRI-Pilipinas trainers hope to conduct around 1,500 such trainings in the rice-producing municipalities/cities of the Philippines, with the possibility of two or more trainings among the top rice producing areas. This phase will be conducted in ten identical sub-phases of 150 trainings at a time. When the municipal-level phase of the program is done, SRI-Pilipinas should be ready to do training in every rice-producing barangay in the country. SRI-Pilipinas is hopeful that the Department of Agriculture, given its public commitment to convert at least 10% of all ricelands in the country to organic production, will continue supporting the SRI-Pilipinas training program as it enters its next phase. (see report for details).
- P20-million Organic Fields Support Program (OFSP) Includes SRI
According to a 2008 article, the Department of Agriculture has formally agreed with the Alaminos City government and two non-governmental organizations - Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) - to promote SRI during the 2009 dry season under the P20-million Organic Fields Support Program (OFSP) in an initial three cities (Alaminos, Tabaco and Science City of Muñoz) and three municipalities (Naujan in Mindoro Oriental and Dinalupihan and Samal in Bataan). One-hectare training farms will be put up in these pilot sites where at least a hundred farmers per site will be given hands-on training on recycling palay husks and other wastes into organic fertilizer plus other eco-friendly farming techniques like distance planting, System of Rice Intensification (SRI), integrated pest management, and zero-tillage farming.
- Tagalog Video on PCIH website
Alternative Rice Planting Method Key to Self-Sufficiency, a 10 minute Tagalog language video (26.8 MB) produced by Alecks Pabico about SRI in the Philippines is available on the PCIJ website. For more information on the active SRI community in the Philippines, see the SRI Pilipinas Network group site, or contact the coordinator, Roberto Verzola.
- SRI Training in the Visayas
On May 19-20, 2008, Zosimo de la Rosa, SRI Regional Program Coordinator (Visayas) conducted training on organic farming (SRI) of the province of Biliran at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry and LGU Almeria. De la Rosa also worked with the Farm and Resource Management Institute (FARMI) at Visayas State University in Leyte to plant SRI trials in their campus "learning field" during April 2008.
- FARMI Project at Visayas State University Shows Increased SRI
The final report of the ALO-funded SRI demonstration trials at the campus of Visayas State University near Baybay City, Leyte, has been provided by Zosimo de la Rosa, SRI Regional Program Coordinator. Average plant height, productive tillers, panicle length, number of grains per panicle,and grain yield (10.16 vs. 3.48 t/ha) were higher in SRI than non-SRI plots during the wet season (June – September 2005). Earlier reports on the SRI trials at VSU can be found on the ALO project website.
- SRI Training Carried Out Across the Philippines
SRI-Pilipinas, a consortium of farmers' groups, civil society organizations, academics and government researchers promoting the System of Rice Intensification in the Philippines, has launched a nationwide training program on SRI principles and practices, funded by the Department of Agriculture. The initial events -- one-day training sessions that include hands-on experience in transplanting very young rice seedlings -- were expected to be conducted in 90% of Philippine provinces, all those that produce >20,000 tons of rough rice a year. Each session was planned to include about 25 participants drawn from farmers' groups, local governments, agriculture technicians, and other interested individuals, persons who can spread that they have learned to others.
During 2006, five of the trainings had been completed, in Quezon province on Luzon, and in Iloilo, plus Bohol, Leyte and Biliran provinces in the Visayas. SRI-Pilipinas coordinator Roberto Verzola hopes to cover at least two provinces in each of the country's 16 regions by the next planting season, with the rest of the targeted provinces to be covered in the next season.
- National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Manager Promotes SRI
When Engr. Carlos Salazar, at the time a Regional Irrigation Manager in eastern Mindanao for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), first learned about SRI in 2003, he incorporated its practices into his own on-farm experiments. He was able to harvest a yield of 138 cavans (6.9 tons) from his one-hectare field. The crop cuts were witnessed by Department of Agriculture's Undersecretary Edmund Sana. The next year, Salazar got 178 cavans (8.9 tons) per ha with SRI methods from a two-hectare field, and in 2005, from the same field he got a yield of 192 cavans (9.6 tons) per ha.
Initially, Salazar called his methods "the Salazar System of Rice Intensification (SSRI)," but he now calls it the "Sustainable System of Irrigated Agriculture" (SSIA). The system involves transplanting 8-10 day-old seedlings; single seedlings per hill and wide spacing, at least 25 cm; flooding the field for 3 days and then keeping it drained for 7 days; controlling weeds with a mechanical weeder; and use of organic fertilizers plus his own formulation of organic pesticides.
- SRI Practices Introduced to the Ifugao
The Ifugao rice terraces in northern Luzon have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of their beauty and their physical representation of a remarkable rice-based culture going back several thousand years (see article in Philippine Post). This massive system of terraces traversing several thousand feet of elevation is deteriorating, however, as farmers and especially their next generation are withdrawing from rice cultivation because it is not remunerative enough, especially with the rising costs of modern agricultural inputs.
Since SRI methods can raise production while reducing dependence on purchased inputs, various people have thought they could be introduced to help to preserve rice culture in the Ifugao terraces. On Sept. 26, Obet Verzola, volunteer coordinator of the SRI-Pilipinas network, visited the area for a rice festival and reported the results of the first assessments of SRI productivity under local, on-farm conditions.
The variety grown with both SRI and conventional methods was an indigenous aromatic rice, a local favorite called Tinawon (which means “once a year”). Six agricultural technicians from the local government (municipality) did the crop cuts and reported that the SRI methods gave an average yield of 1.35 kg/m2 (13.5 t/ha) compared to 0.45 kg/m2 (4.5 t/ha) with standard methods
The NGO supporting the introduction of SRI in the Ifugao territories, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), was disappointed that the plants had only 13 tillers on average (“We were expecting more”), but the technicians were elated. “Our local varieties tend to have only 3-6 tillers, so 13 is a major improvement,” they said.
If SRI methods can make rice-growing more profitable, this should help to stop abandonment of rice production and of terrace maintenance, to preserve the magnificent terrace system. If farmers can get such high yields from local varieties, this will help to conserve rice biodiversity as well as cultural diversity.
- National Workshops Take Place in 2002, 2003 and 2004
A series of national SRI workshops, organized by the Philippine Greens and the Philippine Movement for Rural Reconstruction, the national affiliate of IIRR, began in April 2002, with follow-up workshops in March 2003 and March 2004, coinciding with visits (and participation) by N. Uphoff from CIIFAD. NGOs and farmer organizations from Isabella Province in the north to Mindanao in the south have participated in all these get-togethers, with growing participation from government agencies, universities and the media. A national SRI network, SRI-Pilipinas, supported particularly by Philippine farmer associations and NGOs, is now functioning. For an update on SRI experience in the Philippines as of 2004, see Verzola paper.
- Pabinhi Case Studies Outline Farmer Practices and Innovation
Farmer innovation and experimentation has been an important part of the Philippines SRI experience. A PowerPoint presentation by farmer-leader Rene Janarilla* made for the 2004 workshop is particularly instructive. Nicasio Engallado has done very interesting trials evaluating various combinations of SRI and fish culture with different kinds of organic fertilization and/or with ducks.
[*also available on slideshare.net]
- The Potential of Golden Apple Snail for Reducing Weeds in SRI
The golden apple snail (GAS), known as "golden kuhol," was introduced into the Philippines between 1982 and 1984 as a potential food source for people and farm animals. The GAS subsequently became a major pest of rice there. Dr. R. Joshi and his team at PhilRice have shown that golden kuhol can be managed to control weeds in transplanted irrigated lowland rice. (See articles by Anne-Margaret Yu). During 2004, SRI promoters in the Philippines have been working t to determine whether this technology can be integrated successfully with SRI methods.
- Several Institutions and Organizations Take an Interest in SRI
The Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture has taken an interest in SRI since 2001, and hosted an SRI seminar by Uphoff in April 2002. That year, the ATI center in Southern Mindanao, evaluating SRI methods with three different varieties, got an average SRI yield of 12 t/ha. In 2004, the Cotabato ATI center got an SRI yield of 17 t/ha. The DA's Bureau of Agricultural Research is also taking an interest in SRI, hosting a seminar by Uphoff in March 2004.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is interested in SRI particularly because of its water-saving possibilities, as this resource is becoming more and more of a constraint on rice production in the Philippines. Two initial evaluations, one by Carlos Salazar, a NIA regional irrigation engineer in Mindanao, and one by three Farmer Field Schools assisted by NIA in the Visayan region, have shown both higher yields and increased profitability of SRI along with water saving. NIA is encouraging SRI introduction and its assessment in irrigation systems all around the country.
A number of Philippine universities are evaluating SRI. The first studies were done by students in the agronomy department of the University of Philippines' College of Agriculture, and these are continuing. See report of UPLB research on phyllochrons. The Sustainable Agriculture Center of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao; Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija; and Leyte State University in the Eastern Visayas, which all hosted seminars by Uphoff in March 2004, and subsequently followed up on their interest in SRI.
- BIND Adapts SRI for Upland Rice Production
A promising adaptation of SRI concepts to upland rice production has been made by Broader Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND). BIND staff member Robert Gasparillo set up carefully laid out and measured trials on 4,000 m2 in 2002: 20 plots with 4 replications of 5 spacings (20x40, 25x40, 30x40, 35x40, and 40x40 cm) using an aromatic traditional variety, Azucaena. Since unirrigated rice is not transplanted, the main innovation was the use of mulch, which conserves soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and lowers soil temperature (thereby encouraging earthworm populations in the topsoil). Soil fertilization was done with chicken manure (at a rate of 60 kg N/ha) and a seaweed foliar spray. Details are given in the BIND report accessible by clicking above.
Note: This adaptation of SRI principles to upland rice production built on research done in Madagascar by Bruno Andrianaivo and Joeli Barison in 1999. This achieved an upland rice yield on a farmer's field of 4 t/ha. Further work on 'upland SRI' should be undertaken under a variety of circumstances since upland households are some of the world's most impoverished and could get the most benefit from these principles.
- IRRI SRI Trials Not Impressive
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Los Baños did its first SRI trials in 2003, with a yield of only 1.44 t/ha. IRRI's next season results were not much better, only 3 t/ha. Since other evaluations of SRI methods in the Philippines have given much higher yields, this supports the inference that soil biological factors play a key role in triggering 'the SRI effect.' The soils at Los Baños have been monocropped for decades and have had heavy applications of fertilizer and agrochemicals which would reduce the abundance and diversity of soil biota (see Rickman's report).
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