The first was the 5th International Rice Conference (IRC), held at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, between October 15-17, 2018. The IRC is an international event held every three years where researchers, scientists, policy makers and stakeholders in the rice sector meet to capture cutting edge knowledge and technologies on rice across its broad value chains. This year’s event held in Singapore brought together top scientists from around the world. Prof. Mati attended especially invited for her work on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Kenya.
During the IRC conference in Singapore, the SRI stakeholders held a series of side events. One of these was entitled: “System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Research: What’s New and What’s on the Horizon”. In a nutshell, the session observed that SRI research has been increasing for the past two decades, and over 1,000 journal articles have been published on the technology. The session covered an overview of recent SRI research carried out in over 40 countries with panels on (1) plant and soil biology, and (2) water/GHGs/climate change, short presentations on equipment improvements, gender impacts, and farmer engagement in research and information. It further explored possibilities for a global SRI research network.
The second meeting was held in the town of Skudia, Johor, Malaysia, between October 18-19, 2018. It was organized by the Malaysian Agroecology Society (SRI-Mas), the Asian Centre of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (ACISAI) at the Asian Institute of Technology, and SRI-Rice at Cornell University and hosted by the Universiti Teknologi-Malaysia. The purpose of the workshop was to share experiences and to investigate opportunities to collaborate on scaling up, multi-country research, value chain improvements, accessing resources, and capacity building of SRI networks. The workshop was meant to enhance cooperation and sharing among SRI national networks and stakeholders in Asia. The two-day workshop included representatives of national SRI networks, regional projects and other key SRI stakeholders in Asia.
Prof. Mati made a presentation entitled: “System of Rice Intensification in Kenya: Lessons Learnt for Upscaling SRI in Africa” at the Malaysia workshop. She also met Asian SRI counterparts from Malaysia, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iraq, Laos, Nepal, Cambodia, as well as Africa – Benin and Mali, all who are promoting SRI in their countries. The ASEAN (South East Asian) countries have already formed national SRI networks, and had convened to form a Regional ASEAN network. We too from Africa can form a regional SRI network, but first, we need to form national networks. For now, JKUAT has kicked the first ball by creating a knowledge portal , www.sri-africa.net. We appreciate the contribution of Cornell university’s SRI-Rice for allowing us to make use of their database as a starter for this knowledge portal. We will grow from there.
The participation of Prof. Mati in both international events was sponsored by Lotus Foods, SRI Global, Inc. She is thankful to both Cornell University and Lotus Foods for this support.