Bomi, Cape Mount Farmers Adopt SRI


Several farmers in five communities in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties have adopted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) practice to improve their yields.

SRI is a methodology aimed at increasing the yield of rice produced in farming. It is a low water, labor-intensive, method that uses younger seedlings, small spaced and typically hand weeded with special tools. This technology is being practiced in 13 countries in the West African sub-region as part of a strategy to increase rice production.

In Liberia, the Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP) is working with smallholder rice farmers in eight of the 15 counties to promote the SRI practice in order to improve the productivity of farmers in rice cultivation.

64 year-old farmer, Madam Bowolo Sumo, informed the Daily Observer on Thursday, August 1, 2019, during a tour of their project in Tubmanburg, that they are impressed about the new method learnt in growing rice.

She said in the past, they used the traditional method to grow rice but in the end, they would harvest little quantity.

According to her, they were encouraged to join CHAP to acquire new farming skills to improve their living conditions.

Madam Sumo is the head of the New Road United Women Agriculture Project. She said that her organization was established in 2017 to encourage women to invest in farming to sustain their family. Her organization has accumulated a membership of 24 individuals, majority of them women.

“We have developed 78 plots with rice seedling using little amount of seeds, which was provided by CHAP,” she said.

According to Bowolo, every farm (family) in the group is entitled to a plot that is being developed during the farming season.

However, she said that her organization is faced with numerous challenges, including climate change, pest infestation, and the lack of power tiller to plough their field.

Farmers in Bomi County with Mr. Bimba tour one of the large rice fields.

Willington Yeedoun, leader of the Clay Agriculture Project in Bomi County, boasted of how members of his organization were increasing their productivity.

“We are now in our third year practicing the SRI, and having good yield from rice farming. The knowledge we acquired is being transferred to other farmers in nearby communities. We use little amount of rice to plant, sometimes 10kg bags of seed rice, and harvest 50kg bags,” he said.

Yeedoun said that CHAP gave them a mini-power tiller, which is helping them to expand their farmland.

Moima Kamara in Senii Community, Grand Cape Mount County, said that with support from CHAP, they are encouraged to engage into farming activity in communities around the Sime Darby Plantation.

She told this newspaper that farmers in her community are in need of more support to improve their farming activities.

Robert Bimba, CHAP executive director, said that more than 80,000 farmers in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Montserrado and Margibi counties are currently practicing the SRI technology. He said that the farmers under the program are being provided with seed rice, tools and mini power tillers to develop their farms.

According to him, his organization is working with the farmers to promote the ‘Love the Liberian Rice’ campaign, which was launched sometime this year.

“We are working with our partners to address some of the challenges facing our farmers in those targeted counties.

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Gambian Farmers schooled on SRI techniques

Gambia Commercial Agriculture and Value Chain Management Project (GCAV), in partnership with Department of Agriculture (DoA), conducted a ‘System of Rice Intensification’ (SRI) or single planting of rice training in Central River Region (CRR) from 20th – 23rd of July 2019.

The training targeted the communities of Tuba Demba Sama, Wellingara, Kerewan in CRR South and Kuntaur in CRR North; and a total of 60 farmers, mostly women, benefited from the training.

The main objectives of the SRI trainings are to create awareness on SRI amongst rice farmers, improve rice production and productivity and encourage communities and individuals in the targeted areas to adopt the SRI system.

Delivering the opening remarks in the said communities, the Station Manager of Sapu Agric Station who doubles as SRI facilitator, Mr. Momodou Sambou, said the SRI planting or single planting of rice trainings were first conducted by the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) project few years ago, and by the time farmers started understanding the SRI technique, the project phased out.

He explained that since it’s proved to be a very productive planting system in terms of yield, GCAV project and DoA deemed it necessary to commence SRI training in CRR.

Station Manager Sambou pointed out that the training would be reminder to some participants as they were introduced to SRI planting technique during the time of WAAPP project and some participants are new to the technique.

He, therefore, challenged the participants to take up the technique and also train other farmers who are not opportune to be part of the training program.

Speaking to participants in the target communities, SRI lead trainer from the Department of Agriculture, Mrs. Ramu Hydara, recalled that SRI planting technique was first implemented by a Gambian researcher, two decades ago, but it had been introduced to farmers by WAAPP project some years ago.

She revealed that since WAAPP and GCAV projects are all World Bank funded projects, the donor wants SRI training and adoption to be ongoing amongst farmers, reasoning that’s why the GCAV project is funding SRI training in the country.

Madam Hydara further explained that researches on SRI planting conducted in 13 West African Countries under the WAAPP project all showed that SRI is more productive in terms of yield than the convention planting technique.

The Agriculture official in comparing the yield of conventional planting to SRI planting, indicated to the audience that, a hectare of conventional planting of rice usually doesn’t produce more than 3 tons, while SRI planting generally produces 4 to 8 tons per hectare.

Hydara went on to note that SRI planting is a climate smart agriculture technique that could help farmers to maneuver the negative effects of climate change and realize good yield in their farming.

“One of the keys to realizing significant yield in our agricultural production is adopting the SRI planting technique,” Mr. Molpha Sanyang from GCAV project echoed.

Pointing out that SRI planting judiciously uses seedling, water and fertilizer in production, the GCAV official enjoined Gambian farmers to use the technique so as to achieve high yields.

According to Sanyang, SRI planting is capable of doubling yield of conventional planting.

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An intensive rice project launched in Man – Côte d’Ivoire

Man, July 26 (AIP) – An intensive rice project was launched in Man at a workshop initiated by the National Center for Agricultural Research (CNRA) in collaboration with several stakeholders. This workshop was held around the theme “Diffusion of intensive rice farming system (IRS), an innovative cultural practice for the improvement of rice production in Côte d’Ivoire”. The actors of the rice sector have occasionally benefited from explanations about the existence and start-up of the SRI project, as well as its various variations, particularly administrative, technical and financial.

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