System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
The Trusts have been supporting the systematic extension of SRI among small-holder farmers who cultivate crops under rain-fed conditions. The programme has reached out to over one lakh farmers in more than 105 districts – via a network of over 153 implementation partners. A Secretariat http://sdtt-sri.org/ on SRI liaises with the partners, collates data, operates an MIS to monitor the programme, and coordinates on specific research. The principles of SRI have been successfully applied by over 20,000 farmers to wheat and other crops (such as maize, finger millets and kidney beans). The specific method of rapid and inexpensive SRI extension has been adopted on a wider scale by the NABARD as well as the National Food Security Mission. The Trusts believe that as this method of cultivation goes mainstream, the attention will need to shift to researching the impact of the System of Crop Intensification (SCI) on soil health, water consumption for crop production and related issues. The Trusts have made a key suggestion to the Planning Commission of India; i.e. to cover 10 million hectares of paddy fields under SRI during the 12th Five Year Plan.
System of Rice Intensification: Proposals Invited
Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Allied Trusts seek applications from NGOs, research institutions and universities for the promotion of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India.
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a system developed in Madagascar in the 1980s and has since 1999 been tried out successfully in 25 countries across the world providing farmers with increased yield and options. SRI is a system of growing rice that involves practices different from the traditional ways of growing rice. It involves single and young seedlings transplantation with care instead of the conventional method of multiple and mature seedlings from the nursery. SRI spaces rice plants more widely and does not depend on continuous flooding of rice fields. It uses lesser seed, chemical inputs and promotes soil biotic activities in and around plant roots, enhanced through liberal applications of compost and weeding with a rotating hoe that aerates the soil.
These changed practices with lower inputs counter-intuitively lead to improved productivity with yields of 7-8 tonnes/hectare (t/ha), about double the present average of 3.8 t/ha.
Typically in the SRI method, the following principles are applied:
- Plant young, single seedlings widely spaced, 25 cms. apart rather than more seedlings close together as in the conventional rice growing system
- Soil should be wet but not inundated by flood irrigation
- Weed and aerate soil by use of a simple weeding machine
The Trusts have been supporting SRI promotion since the last five years. The programme targets the small and marginal farmers in paddy growing areas. The 1st phase of the SRI programme was launched in March 2008 with a budget allocation of ` 10.94 crores spread over three years. From the first year itself, the programme covered 8 States through 82 partner organisations, reaching out to 37,000 farmers. Since then, SRI has gradually expanded its reach to more farmers and has the support of the State Governments and financial institutions like NABARD. In 2010, more than one lakh farmers benefitted with SRI’s launch of the 2nd phase with a budget of ` 23.91 crores. The Trusts’ support also extends towards hosting national symposiums on SRI in India. The programme broadly covers the following components:
- Extension work of SRI
- Training of trainers and farmers
- Technical support of SRI promotion (e.g. support for weeders)
- Research and Advocacy of SRI promotion
- Exchange Programmes
- Promotion of innovation such as trying out SRI principles on other crops
- Interested NGOs, Research Institutions and Universities who are interested in availing support for this initiative can contact us at the following address: