2004 NEWS AND LATEST RESOURCES
News from other years:
THE WORLD RICE RESEARCH CONFERENCE, to be held November 4-7, 2004, in Tokyo and Tsukuba, Japan, will bring together the world’s leading rice researchers and scientists to exchange information on the latest breakthroughs and ideas that could benefit the world’s millions of rice farmers and consumers, and develop improved livelihoods. A panel on SRI experience in China, India and other countries will include nine presentations/papers.
RESEARCH/TRAVEL GRANTS FOR RICE IN ASIA of up to $3500 are still available from the Asia Rice Foundation, USA! Applicants must be below age 30, registered at an accredited institution of higher education in Asia or the USA. Deadline to apply: September 30, 2004. The grant will also be offered in 2005.
GOLDEN APPLE SNAIL - CAN IT REDUCE WEEDS IN SRI RICE?
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. Recently, 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, Emerson Yago, and the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture). SRI promoters in the Philippines have been working this year to determine whether this technology can be integrated successfully with SRI methods. For more information contact R. Joshi at PhilRice.
MOTORIZED WEEDER REDUCES SRI LABOR REQUIREMENTS
Mr. Ariyatne Subasinghe, from Hingurakgoda, Sri Lanka, has developed a motorized weeder designed for saving labor time. He is cultivating 5 acres (2 ha) with SRI methods and finds it difficult to do as many weedings as recommended for such an area. So he has developed this weeder, with a Chinese motor, that he can make for about $750, and which he considers a cost-effective innovation given the yields he can get with SRI methods. For more information on his weeder and his innovative methods of crop establishment, click here.
ADRA VIDEO With the initiative of Bruce Ewart, the ADRA program in Indonesia now working with SRI with great results has made a professionally-produced video on SRI, which is to be available to anyone who wants to use it. A different sound-track (in another language) can be added, with the only proviso that ADRA be acknowledged as the producer of this video. CIIFAD has 'streamed' the video so that it is accessible: • download • streaming: NOTE: If you are having trouble viewing the video, go to the RealPlayer website for a free upgrade.
NATIONAL PRIZE FOR SRI FARMER IN MADAGASCAR
The government of Madagascar has instituted an annual competition for the best rice growing in the country, intended to promote the improvement of Madagascar's rice sector. This July, in the second annual competition, Charlotte Rasaonandrasana was awarded the first prize -- 100 million CFA (about $15,000) -- for her paddy yield of 13.5 t/ha, using SRI methods. Last year, her SRI yield was 10.8 t/ha, already more than triple her pre-SRI yield of 3 t/ha. These results were measured and certified by agents of the Ministry of Agriculture [report (in French), in L'Express de Madagascar on the competition and M. Rasaoandrasana's accomplishment is no longer accessible online].
IRRI COLUMN ON THE "SRI CONTROVERSY"
The July-September issue of IRRI's magazine RICE TODAY has a short piece on SRI in its "Grain of Truth" column written by Norman Uphoff, Cornell University, countered by an opposing view of SRI by Thomas Sinclair, USDA-ARS. We note that the latter has never worked with SRI and has at best only second-hand knowledge of it. The research that he cites from China to support his opening statement: "Discussion of the system of rice intensification (SRI) is unfortunate because it implies SRI merits serious consideration," is contradicted by many other, larger and more extensive evaluations of SRI in that country. During this month the URL of this exchange can be found at the following URL: http://www.irri.org/publications/today/pdfs/3-3/grain3-3.pdf
IMWI EVALUATION OF SRI IN SRI LANKA
The International Water Management Institute has published an evaluation of SRI, based on studying the experience of 120 farmers chosen at random in two districts (60 SRI farmers and 60 non-SRI farmers). Although the "SRI farmers" were not yet using all of the recommended SRI practices, or using them fully, they had a 50% increase in yield, a 90% increase in water productivity, and a 50-62% increase in labor productivity, with lowered costs of production, so that profitability per ha went up 100-170%, depending on whether family labor was costed at prevailing wage rates or not considered in the calculation. Moreover, SRI users experienced net economic losses in only 4% of their seasons compared to 28% of seasons for farmers cultivating rice conventionally.The report is available at the following URL: http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/pubs/pub075/Report75.pdf (850kb). The abstract is also available at http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/pubs/pub075/Abstract75.pdf (428kb)
A NATIONAL CONFERENCE-WORKSHOP ON THE SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI) will take place October 28-30, 2004, at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) - College of Agriculture, Los Baños, Laguna. This initiative will include technical/scientific discussion on SRI practices and results in the Philippines to further advance the advocacy of sustainable rice production systems. For more information, click here, or see the agenda (pdf).
A growing number of institutions -- governmental, educational, non-governmental -- are taking up SRI evaluation and promotion in the Philippines. In March, 2004, the Department of Agriculture (its research arm, the Bureau of Agricultural Research; and its extension arm, the Agricultural Training Institute) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) hosted seminars on SRI, as did Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao; Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija, and Leyte State University in the Visayas. The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) hosted a national SRI workshop March 19 with participation from NGOs and farmer associations from 12 provinces. The National Irrigation Administration now has evaluations available from its first year of work with SRI, showing profitability with SRI methods increasing by 100-200% compared with farmer practice (Caraga SRI report, Visayas SRI report). Information on these and other SRI activities is available in a trip report by Norman Uphoff from his visit there March 19-28, 2004.
The Mitraniketan Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Farm Science Centre) in Kerala, India, is conducting a one-day Workshop on System Rice Intensification (SRI) on November 25, 2004. Scientists with varying SRI experiences will present the lead papers, followed by a field visit to SRI demonstration plots. The workshop aims to involve a variety of stakeholders involved in paddy cultivation, including scientists at the State Agricultural University, Kerala, Central Institutes of ICAR, extension functionaries of the State Department of Agriculture, KVKs, NGOs and progressive farmers. The Farm Science Centre has formed farmers groups to try SRI methods and supplied seeds and other critical inputs for adopting this practice. [More on the Farm Science Center (KVK) activities...]