The SRI : the System of Rice Intensification
What’s this ? At first sight, it could make us think about the Green Revolution which occurred in South Asia. Actually, the Green Revolution and the SRI have the same consequences, that is to say, the significant increase of the yield. BUT, it is the only common point. The Green Revolution was a great leap forward as far as techniques of production are concerned. Green Revolution is « the last agricultural generation » : wide use of inputs, generalization of the monoculture. With such a disruption, many peasant practices have disappeared. It used to be considered as a good think, because a lot of people though it would help to avoid food shortages. Nobody can know, in reality, if the Green Revolution had ever had the expected consequences on food security. What we know is the environmental impact of the Green Revolution. This intensification of the production is not a sustainable one. On the contrary, the SRI is an agro ecological practice of cultivation. It’s really amazing. This technical was invented in the 80s by the French engineer Henri de Laulanié, a Jesuit expatriated in Madagascar since 1961, where he attempted new agricultural techniques. In 1983, a drought happened in Madagascar and Henri de Laulanié, noticed that the rice roots grew up especially well with the scarcity of water ! After this crucial observation and several trials, he developed the SRI. How does that work ? Following points differentiate the SRI from the conventional method : – early transplanting : about 12 days after seedbed – seedlings are uprooted with care and transplanted the same day – single seedlings are transplanted – wide spacing between seedlings : 25 cm x 25 cm – rice isn’t inundated : during the vegetative growth period, the soil has to be moist and aerated – weeding to aerate the soil and to avoid the competition In several areas where it has been experimented, yields were increased from 50 % to 100 % Moreover, this method requires less seeds than the traditional one, so a larger part of the yield can be used for food supply instead of being stored for the seedbed. Advantages of the SRI are obvious ; unfortunately, this method is not really widespread. As projects are decentralized, the SRI is hardly likely to be adopted worldwide. Nevertheless, I am convinced that it is a technical of the future since threats of staple shortages are more and more actual and conventional agriculture is more and more contested.
going further : http://ciifad.cornell.edu/sri/