To: SRI-UPDATE-L@cornell.edu (SRI-UPDATE-L)
From: Norman Uphoff
Subject: SRI-UPDATE-L #16 (March 15, 2008)
Dear SRI-Update-L subscriber,
The following material is part of the SRI UPDATE series being sent out occasionally throughout the year. In this issue, you will find updates about the numerous SRI efforts in India. Enhanced versions of these e-updates and archives are also 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 home page. To subscribe to an interactive SRI discussion list (INSTEAD of this announcement list to which you are currently subscribed), see http://ciifad.cornell.edu/sri/listservs/index.html#rice.
for CIIFAD SRI Group
1. INDIA: The Hindu Reports Expansion of SRI Area in Tamil Nadu
2. INDONESIA: Broader Alliance of Organizations Supporting SRI
3. INDONESIA: Indonesian Association for SRI Launched
4. Joint Evaluation Being Planned with IRRI and Wageningen
5. AFGHANISTAN: Encouraging First-Year Demonstrations/Trials
6. NEPAL: SRI Methods Successful at 2500 Meters Above Sea Level
7. CUBA: Workshops Keep SRI Momentum Going
8. IRAQ: Gearing Up Extension Activities in 2008
9. MALI: SRI Introduced in Timbuktu Region
10. Recent Publications on SRI
1. INDIA: THE HINDU REPORTS EXPANSION OF SRI ARE IN TAMIL NADU
One of India’s major newspapers has had a series of articles on SRI spread in Tamil Nadu state:
2. INDONESIA: BROADER ALLIANCE OF ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING SRI
Both the Directorate of Water Resources in the Department of Public Works (PU) and the Directorate of Land and Water Resource Management in the Department of Agriculture are supporting SRI training and extension, as is a major Indonesian foundation, MEDCO. Private sector support is coming from a number of companies including construction and operation of an SRI research center on the island of Lombok. NGO involvement is continuing strong, particularly from Aliksa Organic SRI Consultants and the Field Foundation. In West Java, about 10,000 farmers are using ‘organik SRI’ methods on 6,000 hectares. Both the Agriculture University at Bogor (IPB) and Andalas University in West Sumatra have research programs on SRI and are getting involved also in extension activities. A report on this emergence of multi-sector collaboration to promote SRI has been written by Norman Uphoff from his visit to the country in January and is available
3. INDONESIA: LAUNCHING OF A NEW ASSOCIATION FOR SRI (INA-SRI)
The Indonesian Association for the System of Rice Intensification (Ina-SRI) was established Jnauary 16, with an operational base at the Agricultural University of Bogor (IPB). Prof. Iswandi Anis, head of the Soil Biotechnology Laboratory in the IPB Department of Soil Sciences and Land Resources, is coordinating Ina-SRI together with Prof. Budi I. Setiawan in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The main current activity is Yahoo Group exchanges with over 60 members. The group operates in English although many postings are in Bahasa Indonesia. To subscribe to this electronic discussion group, see instructions on the Ina-SRI website (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Ina-SRI/) or send an e-mail to Ina-SRIfirstname.lastname@example.org
4. JOINT EVALUATION BEING PLANNED WITH IRRI AND WAGENINGEN
Plans are proceeding for a collaborative evaluation of SRI vis-à-vis ‘best management practices’ to be done by scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Cornell University and Wageningen University. Representatives from the three institutions will meet at Wageningen the last week of May to put together a joint proposal to the Gates Foundation for a multi-year, multi-country evaluation that should resolve matters of scientific controversy about SRI. This will not produce any conclusions for several years, of course. Efforts to evaluate, evolve and disseminate SRI in the present ‘decentralized’ way will continue with government agencies, NGOs, universities, research institutions, private sector and farmers making of SRI what they can.
5. AFGHANISTAN: ENCOURAGING FIRST-YEAR TRIALS / DEMONSTRATIONS
The Aga Khan Foundation program operating in the north of the country has prepared a seasonal report from its first year of trials and demonstrations in Baghlan and Takhar provinces (see report). The plant growth achieved was impressive – as many as 120 tillers per plant at 96 days – but transplanting was done too late to capitalize upon the crops’ potential given the short growing season there. AKF has organized visits and training for dozens of farmers involved in its programs and for others working with the German NGO, Agro-Action, so concrete plans are set for an expanded and better-timed effort in 2008.
6. NEPAL: SRI METHODS SUCCESSFUL AT 2500 METERS ABOVE SEA LEVEL
Chris Evans (Appropriate Technology Asia, ATA) reports that Mr. Singha Buddha at ATA’s demonstration and education center in Madana Village Development Committee (VDC) area has successfully used SRI methods at 2500 m altitude in southern Humla district of Nepal. He used 30-day seedlings because seedlings grow more slowly at such high altitude with colder temperatures; and he weeded three times, once with hand hoe and twice with hand weeding. After planting, it was six weeks until the monsoon rains began, however, watering was necessary only three times, once every two weeks, according to Evans.
7. CUBA: WORKSHOPS KEEP SRI MOMENTUM GOING
A nation-wide workshop on SRI, known as SICA in Latin America, was organized by the Urban Agriculture Program November 21, 2007, with participation from across Cuba including from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Arroz Popular (Popular Rice) program for smallholder production and the Cuban Institute of Rice Research. Farmer reports on their SICA experience encouraged the programs represented to plan coordinated efforts to promote SICA in the coming rice season. See report; also report on workshop at a cattle cooperative in the town of La Ruda, San Jose de las Lajas, Havana province on February 8, 2008.
8. IRAQ: GEARING UP EXTENSION ACTIVITIES IN 2008
As reported already, an SRI Extension Committee was formed in 2007, and it reports demonstrations of activities at 25 locations during the year to acquaint Iraqi farmers, decision-makers and scientists about SRI potentials. In February 2008, training in SRI methods was planned for 2,000 farmers in Muthanna Province. (See report on the 2007 activities in Iraq). This report also includes results from experiments with mechanical transplanting, which gives good yield with reduced labor, although the highest yield was achieved with ‘standard’ SRI methods. Of interest outside Iraq may be the results that Khidhir Hameed and colleagues have gotten using clover as a green manure/cover crop in rotation with SRI. This practice improved soil characteristics and raised rice yields by an average of 24% on soils that are not otherwise very fertile.
9. MALI: SRI INTRODUCED IN TIMBUKTU REGION
Africare, an NGO working on agricultural and rural development in the Timbuktu region on the edge of the Sahara desert, initiated SRI demonstration trials in 2007 managed by farmers working with its food security in the Goundam district. Erika Styger, who learned about SRI while doing her PhD thesis research in Madagascar with CIIFAD, provided technical assistance (see 2007 seasonal report). The control plot average was 6.69 t/ha, well above the usual yields in the area due to very good management, but the SRI yield averaged 8.98 t/ha, 34% higher. This was achieved without access to a soil-aerating mechanical weeder, now received, so it appears that still greater yield improvement will be possible. Africare has prepared plans for expansion of the demonstration trials in the next season and hopes to incorporate this effort into a longer-term project with USAID funding and Rodale Institute technical cooperation.
10. RECENT PUBLICATIONS ON SRI
At the Indian National SRI Symposium in October 2007, six new publications on SRI were presented to the Chief Minister of Tripura State and other guests and were distributed to Symposium participants: