SRI-UPDATE #21 - March 1, 2009

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From: Norman Uphoff
Subject: SRI-UPDATE-L #21 (March 1, 2009)

Dear SRI-Update-L subscriber,

The following material is part of the SRI UPDATE series sent out several times throughout the year. In this issue, you will find updates about numerous SRI efforts worldwide. Enhanced versions of these e-updates and archives are available on the SRI website, along with information on how to subscribe for other SRI groups in other countries:

The numbered listing of sections provides an overview of this Update, so you can see quickly what items are included. More information is then given below, and full reports or pictures can be accessed from the SRI website: To subscribe to an interactive SRI discussion list (INSTEAD of this list to which you are currently subscribed), see:

-Norman Uphoff
for CIIFAD SRI Group

1. ECUADOR: 33rd Country to Join "The SRI Club"
2. COSTA RICA: 34th SRI Country -- with Mechanized Transplanting
3. RWANDA: SRI Results Reported from IFAD Project
4. World Bank Institute Releases Multimedia Multimedia Toolkit on SRI
5. CHINA: New System of Wheat-Rice Intensification
6. AFGHANISTAN: Report on 2009 Trials
7. VIETNAM: Expansion of SRI in Ha Tay Province Supports Scaling Up
8. MALAYSIA: SRI Trials Started in 2009
9. Article on SRI Adoption Adoption in Tamil Nadu in IRRI Newsletter

Jorge Gil Chang, director of FUNDEC (Fundacion para el Desarollo Agricola del Ecuador), has reported on the first SICA/SRI trials in his country during 2008. His paddy yield with 10-day seedlings and 40x40 cm spacing on a 1,200 m2 plot using some microorganism soil supplementation was 8.8 t/ha, compared with 2.3 t/ha on the adjacent control plot where conventional methods were used: see National average yield in Ecuador is 3.8 t/ha. Jorge and his colleagues plan to expand SICA/SRI trials and demonstrations in this year.

Oscar Montero, after three years of work with SRI concepts and practices, has reported through Rena Perez that he obtained 8 t/ha yields this past season in Costa Rica with SICA/SRI methods. He redesigned a mechanical transplanter (Yanmar AP100) to speed up and save labor on crop establishment. This could open up new possibilities for the spread of SICA/SRI cultivation in Latin America, where hand transplanting has been a major barrier to adoption, given labor shortages in rural areas. Oscar’s report and pictures are posted on the SRI website:

Update #19 reported Rwanda as the 32nd country where SRI methods were validated. We now have more information on SRI performance there. An IFAD supervision team visiting Rwanda in September 2008 found that in the two areas where SRI methods were introduced, their wide application has increased rice yields from 4 t/ha to 6 t/ha in the Kibaza area, and from 4 t/ha to 7 t/ha in the Rwabutazi area. The number of SRI rice farmers in the two areas was already 2,000. Further increases in yield appear possible because the recommended SRI methods are not yet being fully utilized.

Farmers in these areas were trained in SRI methods by Sebastien Rafaralahy and Justin Rabenandrasana from Association Tefy Saina in Madagascar in 2006, whom IFAD brought to Rwanda as training consultants: The experience with SRI under IFAD's PAPSTA project is reported at:

The Water Program of the World Bank Institute has produced a set of video and written materials for spreading knowledge of SRI and for assisting farmers to utilize the concepts and methods. Much of the material was provided by the National Irrigation Administration in the Philippines, but pictures and experience were also contributed from the SRI network based at CIIFAD. The materials, entitled SRI: ACHIEVING MORE WITH LESS -- A NEW WAY OF RICE CULTIVATION, are available in a hardcopy ‘toolkit’ with CD included, and also on line at:

There are three components to the video/DVD: (a) a 12-minute overview of SRI, intended for policy makers and others; (b) a 16-minute training module for farmers and extension personnel, introducing and showing the constitutent practices of SRI; and (c) a series of interviews for different perspectives on SRI, starting with farmer responses, also with comments from Norman Uphoff, Amir Kassam and Shuichi Sato, with some skeptical comments by Achim Dobermann of IRRI.


Dr. Zhang Weijian, director of the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) Institute for Agroecology and Farming Systems, has provided us with a report on the results for 3 years of his Institute’s experimentation in Jiangsu province. The CAAS Institute is adapting SRI concepts and methods to improve productivity of the wheat-rice rotational farming system which is very important in China and also South Asia, covering 22 million hectares in these two regions. More info:

Given China’s current average wheat and rice yields, a year’s cycle of wheat and rice will usually produce about 10 t/ha of grain. With what is being called ‘the System of Wheat-Rice Intensification’ or SWRI, annual combined yields of 13, 15 and 17 t/ha have been achieved in different locations in Jiangsu province. This opens up new opportunities for SRI use as SWRI's shortening of the rice crop cycle is advantageous for the accompanying wheat crop grown in rotation, permitting earlier planting, plus giving more rice yield. SRI aerobic soil conditions benefit the wheat crop, which is not well adapted for anaerobic soils.

The Natural Resource Management team of the Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan working in Baghlan Province has compiled a report on the 2008 season. As reported previously, the first-year trials in 2007 were not very successful, because the SRI crop was transplanted one month late, and given the high altitude (1700 m) with cool temperatures Baghlan has a short growing season. The SRI plants gave disappointing yields: 3 tons/ha compared to 6.5 tons/ha for the controls. The SRI plants tillered impressively, however, so in 2008, six farmers volunteered to do carefully-controlled trials monitored by AKF staff.

This year’s results showed SRI yields averaging 10.13 tons/ha, with the controls yielding 5.41 tons/ha. One farmer, Juma Gul, had an SRI plant with 133 tillers at 72 days after transplanting. His yield was calculated at 11.56 tons/ha. The seasonal report compiled by Ali Mohammed Ramzi on behalf of the AKF-A team is posted on the Afghanistan page of the SRI website:

A cooperative effort to expand SRI use in Vietnam is underway through the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Division (PPD), with field support from the NGO, Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), and financial support from Oxfam America and Oxfam Quebec. The program started in Dai Nghia commune of My Duc district in Ha Tay province with farmer field school methods had 3,000 hectares under SRI management in 2007. Information on this community-based campaign is provided in and in a trip report by Uphoff including discussions with farmers and officials in the project area in July 2007 ( In 2008, the rice area under SRI in Ha Tay province expanded to 33,000 hectares, with 95,000 farmers using the new methods (

In 2008, farmer field schools and demonstration plots were established under this cooperative effort in 20 other provinces of Vietnam. Training was given to 390 ‘core farmers’ who in turn recruited and trained 1,274 farmers who managed 302.3 ha of demonstration plots in these 20 provinces. A provisional report for 2008 reported that SRI acreage, including both the winter-spring and summer-autumn seasons, was 68,894 hectares, with 226,090 farmers using the new methods fully or partially during the year's two seasons.

An analysis of 2008 results indicates an average yield increase with SRI methods of 16.7%, giving farmers 23.3% higher profitability per hectare. due to lower costs. Urea fertilizer use was reduced by 12.5% and pesticide use was less by 55%. In all provinces, a reduction in incidence of pests and diseases was reported in SRI plots. Records indicated that only 27% of the SRI farmers working with the program used ‘full SRI’ last year, while the rest used ‘partial SRI.’ However, this means that there is potential for further gains in productivity and profitability to the extent that all SRI methods are used more fully. With partial use, Vietnamese farmers are already getting benefits.


The interdisciplinary SRI Group at the National University of Malaysia (Update #18) organized a training program at the end of January 2009 for 30 participants, farmers, entrepreneurs, extension officers and academics, with two trainers from the National Organic SRI Center (NOSC) at Nagrak in Indonesia coming as resource persons. SRI trials are being conducted at two sites where university faculty already have good working relationships with rice farmers.

Dr. Anisan Izahak who serves as the SRI Group’s coordinator reports that its members are aiming for ‘a soft launch’ of SRI in Malaysia in March or April, when the growing SRI plants can be shown to visitors. Staff from the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (FELCRA) and the Malaysian Agricultural and Rural Development Institute (MARDI) are also planning to start their own SRI trials and demonstrations in 2009. FELCRA has previously sent some of its staff to the NOSC, maintained and operated by the Indonesian NGO Aliksa Organic SRI Consultants (AOSC), for SRI training. (

A survey of farmers in the Cauvery Delta and Tambiraparani River Basin by TNAU faculty has been published in IRRI's International Rice Research News which assesses reasons for the adoption and discontinuance of SRI (see Average yield increase with SRI methods was only 27%, but the survey also showed that this is with incomplete adoption of the recommended SRI practices. This can be considered as a flaw or fault in SRI -- or as an indication that higher yield increases are still available to Tamil Nadu farmers if and when they use the methods more fully or correctly. Publication of this article indicates that IRRI’s International Rice Research News is willing to accept articles with data and analysis on SRI.

The article does not consider the wider context of SRI adoption in Tamil Nadu state, where already 500,000 hectares of SRI rice have been harvested in the 2008-2009 season -- and the government expects to achieve the target of 750,000 hectares for the whole season (THE HINDU, January 29, 2009 --

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