2006 NEWS AND LATEST RESOURCES
News from other years:
SRI NETWORK IS FINALIST FOR ALCAN PRIZE
CIIFAD’s application to the ALCAN Prize for Sustainability made on behalf of the international SRI network that has been developed around the world over the last 6 years has been selected from among 200 applications from 55 countries for the short-list for the 2006 prize. If we are awarded this prize, we will receive $1 million in recognition of past accomplishments and to support future efforts for sustainable development. A press release gives more information on the sponsors of the prize which will be announced by December. (See also articles in the Chronicle Online and the Ithaca Journal.)
•Irrigation Science journal article: The Elsevier journal Irrigation Science has published an on-line article “Opportunities for Water-Saving with Higher Yield from the System of Rice Publication,” written by Dr. A. Satyanarayana, former director of research for the Andhra Pradesh agricultural university (ANGRAU in India; Dr. T. M. Thiyagarajan, former dean of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University campus at Killikulam and now director of the rice research station at Tirur, near Chennai; and Norman Uphoff, CIIFAD. For those without a subscription to Irrigation Science, contact N. Uphoff for the post-print.
• SRI feature article in The New Farm magazine: The March issue of Rodale Institute’s magazine The New Farm (International) has a feature article on the introduction of SRI in the Casamance region of Senegal by Peace Corps Volunteer Carrie Miner.
•PhD thesis on SRI and FFS in Myanmar: Humayun Kabir, who has been advising the Metta Development Foundation’s agricultural development program in Myanmar, has recently defended a PhD thesis for the University of Honolulu. Adaptation and Adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Myanmar using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach (available on the SRI website) documents the results of Metta’s introduction of SRI using farmer field school methodology for extremely poor and marginalized farmers in northern Myanmar since 2001.
•SRI chapter in Nepal Agriculture Technology Book The Agriculture Information and Communication Center/Nepal (AICC) has recently published a book entitled "Nepal Agriculture Technology Book" (Nepal Krishi Prabhidi Pustak). The first chapter of this 455 page publication on agriculture and livestock contains a 10 page section on SRI. 5,000 copies of this NRs book have been published. For more information contact Rajendra Uprety.
• English SRI manual by WASSAN in Andhra Pradesh: An English version of the manual "System of Rice Intensification: An Emerging Alternative" was produced in Andhra Pradesh by the Indian NGOs Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN) and the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) with support from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). This 20-page manual is now available in electronic form from the WASSAN website (www.wassan.org/sri/), which also contains an inventory of SRI resources available in India, plus practical information and a video.
An extremely inexpensive weeding tool was developed by Govinda Dhakal (bottom) of Indrapura ward 6, Morang district. The weeder costs only about 20 cents to make, and, according to Govinda, reduces the time required for weeding by 60-65% compared to hand weeding. Additional information on this weeder is included in the report mentioned above. (Click on photos to enlarge).
In 2005, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) sponsored an evaluation of SRI methods in 11 districts of Andhra Pradesh State of India, studying in detail the comparative results of SRI and standard modern methods of rice production for 212 farmers. The results, which included also soil biological assessments done by ICRISAT scientists, are reported in the Dialogue Bulletin, a WWF publication (pages 10-19).
On June 29, the Acharya N. G. Rao Agricultural University (ANGRAU) serving the state of Andhra Pradesh hosted a multi-stakeholder review of different experiences with SRI in this state, attended by over 50 farmers and many researchers, extensionists and administrators from various organizations. There was much discussion, particularly on identifying and overcoming constraints for SRI adoption. The session lasted 10 hours as an indication of the high level of interest that the meeting generated. One of the ANGRAU participants reported that SRI was used in 2005 on about 40,000 hectares in the state. A report has been submitted by Kevin Fingerman, UC Berkeley PhD candidate, who attended the meeting as an observer.
The January 2006 edition of the Dialogue Bulletin also notes that WASSAN (Watershed Support Services and Activities Network) has opened up two full-time SRI centers in Andhra Pradesh.
Rajendra Uprety in the District Agricultural Development Office/Morang has prepared a paper reporting on how his office's activities in behalf of SRI evaluation and dissemination have been able to continue in areas where the current insurgency has brought most government development efforts to a standstill. Uprety's paper appears in the on-line proceedings of the 2006 Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) international conference held in Beechworth, Victoria, Australia, in March, 2006.
At an April 12 meeting (see minutes) of the Bangladesh SRI National Steering Committee in Dhaka, hosted by ActionAid, a new member of the SRI consortium, the SRI training video produced by ADRA in West Timor (Indonesia) in 2003, was 'premiered' with a Bangla soundtrack. This is another good example of South-South collaboration in the dissemination of SRI. Mr. Luther Das, consultant, took the initiative in dubbing the video with the assistance of Prof. Muazzam Husain and Mr. Gopal Chowhan. Mr. Robert Patton, a consultant for ADRA, contributed the cost of the dubbing, which was much approved by those attending the meeting from ActionAid, Bangladesh Rice Foundation, Department of Agricultural Extension, IRRI/Bangladesh, Oxfam GB, SAFE, and Syngenta Bangladesh Ltd.
SRI National Steering Committee participants decided to establish a SRI National Network Bangladesh, for which the Steering Committee would become the Executive Committee. The Bangladesh Rice Foundation will serve as the Network's secretariat, and Prof. Muazzam Husain was asked to continue serving as national coordinator. All this work is proceeding on a volunteer basis. Favorable reports from DAE, ActionAid, Oxfam and other participants on SRI results gave impetus for agreement to continue expanding SRI activities in Bangladesh.
In December, 2005, the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) hosted a national workshop on SRI, where SRI experience from various institutions was reported. The workshop was also covered in articles by The Rising Nepal and the Ev-K2-CNR news. Papers by Mr. Raj Kanta Jha, Mr. Rajendra Uprety, and Dr. Madan Raj Bhatta are accessible from the SRI website's workshop report as well as the SRI-Nepal Yahoo Group site. Other papers will be posted when ready for wider circulation.
Dr. Khidhir Abbas Hameed, researcher at th Al-Mishkhab Rice Research Station at Najaf in Iraq, has sent in a report on his initial trials with SRI methods during the 2005 season. Necessarily some adaptations were made in the usual SRI methods for a rice-growing environment that is very dependent on irrigation and where plants and soil are fully exposed to intense sunlight. Dr. Khidhir reports some encouraging results, with growing farmer interest. This year he expects to expand evaluations to three or more provinces, particularly paying attention to increasing soil organic matter. He is already writing about SRI methods in agricultural publications in Iraq so that technicians and researchers there will be aware of the new possibilities. Other countries with similar rice-growing conditions may benefit from the work being undertaken in Iraq where researchers are trying to make some basic improvements in agriculture despite the unsettled conditions.
• Applications for International Foundation of Science (IFS) research grants are welcome from young scientists in developing countries to do research on the sustainable management, use or conservation of biological or water resources. This broad statement covers natural science and social science research on agriculture, soils, water resources, etc. Application deadlines: June and December annually.
• The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) supports activities of non-governmental and community-based organizations in developing countries towards climate change abatement, conservation of biodiversity, protection of international waters, reduction of the impact of persistent organic pollutants and and prevention of land degradation while generating sustainable livelihoods. SGP is rooted in the belief that global environmental problems can only be addressed adequately if local people are involved and that with small amounts of funding, local communities can undertake activities that will make a significant difference in their lives and their environment. Maximum grant: US$50,000 (average is around US$20,000)