Towards a learning alliance on system of rice intensification in Orissa – a report on dialogue project by WWF International and ICRISAT

This report deals with the experiences on SRI by fifteen different organisations and farmers. These experiences reflect the concerns, aspirations and diversity of perspectives among the actors

The report is divided into four parts. Part I speaks about the overall context of rice cultivation in Orissa (of which Nuakhai is a part) and the crying need for change by most actors involved. In part II the background of SRI in India is sketched broadly and in part III the SRI work in Orissa is situated within the overall context of rice in the state. It shows how SRI in Orissa has evolved in the last three years. Finally in Part IV the emerging concept of a ‘learning alliance’ is discussed and why SRI in Orissa and in rest of India needs several learning alliances if it wants to live up to the rising expectations from farmers across the state and country. In this it draws upon SRI experiences both in India and the rest of the world.

It argues that SRI as an innovation that is complex and constantly evolving and dynamic needs a different kind of system architecture.  One that can not only keep pace with the evolving nature  of knowledge – technical and institutional, but also one  that can enable the faster generation and dissemination of  new knowledge, or innovation in short. For this to happen learning alliances that build trust and synergise information flow across diverse actors are necessary. Success in the uptake of an innovation such as SRI has been due to the actors creating a micro culture of innovation around them.

This micro culture allows for learning and sharing of information leading to innovation. Innovation does not refer per-se to absolutely new concepts and can also mean mediated introduction of existing information to a group of actors or to a context in which it has not been applied before. In that sense in the SRI innovation system all the actors and not just the research actors, are innovators and need to be appreciated for their contribution.

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