This report on farmers’ experiences on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India by ICRISAT and WWF is an effort to compile the experiences of those farmers who pioneered the SRI method in various regions. They experimented in their own way, articulating their point of view on the method.
The SRI is a national phenomenon in India and rice-cultivating farmers, particularly those who have less than one hectare of land, have experimented, refined, adopted and are promoting SRI. It is their hard work and trust that has spread this unknown method into all rice-growing states. Out of 564 rice-growing districts in India, SRI is being practiced by the farmers in about 216 districts.
Farmers’ contribution to the knowledge of SRI is significant and is often ignored. By publishing their views on SRI, the report attempts to help the established research institutes, government-funded extension organizations, civil societies and aid agencies that are committed to food security, to come out with solutions and assist farmers in further improving and promoting SRI.
The articles included in this report indicate that SRI can work in many agro-climatic zones of India. It can improve yields, reduce water input and provide more income. There is a scope for further improving and refining it to suit local conditions. Some of the case studies are very inspiring and show the determination of farmers, for example –
- In Uttarakhand, in the hills, landholdings are small. Food security of the poorest of the poor in the hills can only be met by improving the productivity of their land. Chain Singh from Tehri Gharwal district tried SRI in 0.05 acre (one nali) last year and 0.13 acre (2.5 nali) this year. With SRI method he doubled the yields. His 0.13 acre area has given him 220 kg, which works out 4.4 t/acre.
- In Himachal Pradesh, another mountain terrain, Chamaru Ram started SRI with 0.05 acre and is practicing now in his entire area of 0.8 acre (8 karnals) improving the yields from 1.1 to 1.8 t/acre, again improving his household food security.
- Merugu Naryana of Mahabubnagar district in A.P. could improve yields under bore-well irrigation by nearly 30 percent by practicing SRI.
- Tapan Sen from Tripura has an experience of nine seasons with SRI since 2003. He gradually increased the area under SRI from 0.4 acre to 1.2 acre. He demonstrated that yields could be obtained up to 3.8 t/acre.
- The story of V.K.V. Ravichandran, from Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu, is somewhat different. He is a farmer with 60 acres, educated and well-informed. He not only improvised SRI practice to suit his specific agro-climatic conditions but also became a regular contributor to the SRI Newsletter, SRI India website and Google groups.
Download the report here: