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  • CHAP Helps Reduce Spread of COVID-19 among Liberian Farmers using System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Principles Robert Bimba, Community of Hope Agriculture Project (CHAP)

    Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 global health crisis is also affecting food security across Liberia and
    throughout Africa, CHAP has initiated ways of keeping the out-grower scheme farmers under the “Rice
    Investment for Empowerment” (RISE) program growing food during this crisis period in support of the
    Government of Liberia’s C-19 Food Security Plan through the Ministry of Agriculture, calling on everyone
    to grow more food during the lockdown. The farmers supported by CHAP, who are located in Nimba,

    Grand Gedeh, Cape Mount, Montserrado, Lofa, Bong, and Bomi counties, were already engaged since last year in raising rice production and were at different levels with their improved farming activities at the onset of the health crisis.

    CHAP is promoting the principles of the System of
    Rice Intensification (SRI) for growing more rice
    under the current health crisis as it did during the
    Ebola crisis in 2014-2015 under the regional SRI-
    WAAPP program. CHAP is continuing supporting
    farmers in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and
    Montserrado counties.

    The principles of SRI are:

    • Plant just a single plant per hill 
    • Transplant young seedlings @ 2-leaf stage
    • Adopt wide spacing – planting seedlings in
      a grid pattern
    • Alternative wetting and drying (AWD
    • Use mechanical or manual weeders that
      aerate the soil as they remove weeds
    • Use organic soil amendments as base



    Many of the SRI farmers under this scheme are actively farming
    now, and our Farmers Advisory Service (FAS) is supporting our
    team in the field. Several farmers are currently harvesting in
    Lofa, and Bong, while others are in different stages: scaring
    birds, doing land preparation, caring for the nursery,
    transplanting, overseeing farm management, and marketing
    An interesting development is that many farmers have come to
    see the SRI principles as similar to the COVID 19 awareness
    messages as shown in the table below.



    SRI Principles as They Relate to COVID-19 Prevention Measures:

    COVID 19 Awareness SRI Principle
    1 Social distancing  

    Wider spacing of plants (25cm

    x 25cm) than before

    2 Frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the
    Alternative wetting and drying
    of the rice field to enhance
    plant growth


    3 Timely report of all cases for isolation and treatment Quick and timely action;
    transplant seedlings very
    quickly after they are uprooted
    from the nursery


    4 Observe any exposed person for 14 days Transplant your seedlings
    when they are 8-14 days old
    5 Avoid crowded places Transplant just one plant per


    6 No touching and hand shaking No touching of plants during
    flowering or pollination period


    7 Keep yourself healthy by eating nutritious food Improve soil health with more
    organic matter, and eat the
    organic rice that you grow


    CHAP has also engaged the Ministry of Agriculture to make use of one of the four industrial rice mills
    in the southeast of Liberia that are financed by African Development Bank under the Smallholder
    Agriculture Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization Project (SAPEC). These are intended for
    use with ongoing programs of MOA and require collective efforts of all actors in the sector to operate
    efficiently. If proposal is approved, this will boost rice production in the Southeast, using SRI methods
    to increase yields and double the crop cycle to grow rice twice a year.

    Figure 2 SRI Nursery in Bomi

    In an effort to ensure that what farmers produce is bought at a fair
    price in a timely manner, CHAP under the I Love Liberian Rice
    initiative has introduced the Farmers RISEpaymentApp to promote
    farmers’ use of the better technology. Training will commence in two
    weeks with registration of the first 10,000 farmers across the RISE
    investment counties along with Lonestar MTN. This will enhance
    timely service delivery for inputs and payment for our farmers.

    To make the opportunities of SRI more widely available within
    Liberia, the above efforts should make farming a more profitable
    business for smallholder farmers. This investment initiative is aligned
    with the Government of Liberia’s “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity
    and Development (PPAPD).” The System of Rice Intensification
    (SRI) is being promoted as an agroecological methodology that is an
    excellent example of Climate-Smart Agriculture.

  • Using system of rice intensification practices to mitigate climate change effects on rice production in Western Kenya

    The increasing impacts of climate change and the demand for food threaten the productive and
    service capacity of agro-ecosystems. Consequently, adoption of irrigation alternatives that enhance
    water use efficiency in crop production is vital. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) increases
    crop water productivity through intermittent wetting and drying of rice paddies, under specific
    soil and agronomic management practices. The main objective of this study was to determine the
    level of adoption, replication and up-scaling of SRI practices among rice farmers in three western
    Kenya irrigation schemes. The study used the Farmers Field Schools (FFS) strategy for extending
    SRI practices to the farmers and optimizing crop water productivity using reduced inputs. Two FFS
    sites were identified from among individual farmers’ fields in each of the three irrigation schemes
    (Ahero, Bunyala and West Kano). Individual irrigation scheme farmers’ participation involved
    Ahero (40), Bunyala (50) and West Kano (52), respectively. The results indicate a steady increase
    of 18 percent of farmers from 120 farmers during the second year to 142 farmers by the end of
    the third year of the project work. Comparison of SRI and conventional rice growing reveals that
    the SRI strategy leads to higher grain yield through increase in numbers of effective tillers per hill
    as opposed to the conventional system. Rice production costs under SRI when compared to the
    conventional system are also much lower due to reduced amount of seedlings and its lower water
    demands. The need for systematic promotion of SRI as an integrated approach is recommended.

    view PDF : https://repository.ruforum.org/system/tdf/Mugalavai.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=38509&force=

  • The 8th World Sustainability Forum 15/09/2020 – 17/09/2020, VIRTUAL, Switzerland

    The 8th World Sustainability Forum – WSF2020
    15 – 17 September 2020, VIRTUAL, Basel, Switzerland Welcome from the Conference Chairs

    September 2020 marks the 5th birthday of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If it were a child and given the right circumstances, it would now have developed fine motor skills, be able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, have long conversations, and start to develop a sense of independence and responsibility. With the 8th World Sustainability Forum, we are not only celebrating this birthday but are also taking stock of where we are in relation to a more sustainable world, what has worked, what has not yet worked, and where we need to go next. Today, the world is a different place from when we were planning this event. To remain relevant, any event must take into account the future impact of events that are unfolding in 2020: a health crisis, followed by economic, political, and social crises.

    Sustainability has gained considerable traction: Many countries have integrated sustainability and environmental protection as part of their national development agenda, many businesses have realized the considerable long-term potential in sustainable development, and many research agendas have aligned with sustainability goals. The challenges that mark 2020 give rise to new imaginaries on how to either return to a “new normal” or to forge ahead into a challenging and more sustainable future. The health crisis and its consequences will not guarantee a more sustainable future but it certainly provides a narrow window of opportunity to rethink outdated economic, social, and environmental arrangements. It is encouraging to note the wide-spread calls for a sustainable “new normal”.

    With this event, we hope to contribute to building a platform and network for sustainability agendas that fosters new partnerships among stakeholders beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines, self-serving national agendas, quarterly spreadsheets, and election cycles. The quest is to conceive of ways to assure long-term sustainable development for people, for regions, and for our planet.

    In the spirit of making an event on sustainability more sustainable, the 8th World Sustainability Forum will be an online global event. The themes for 2020 are:

    1 Health and Medicine
    2 Food Security and Agriculture
    3 Mobility and Transport

    If your abstract is not associated with one of these three themes, we encourage you to participate in the 9th World Sustainability Forum to be held from 13-15 September 2021 at the Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland which will cover a wider range of topics.

    In light of the online nature of the 2020 event, a number of significant changes in organization have taken place. The deadline for registration has been removed and you may register at any time. The submission deadline for abstracts has been extended to 1 August 2020. In the interest of inclusive global participation and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, MDPI has generously agreed to drop the registration fees for all virtual academics for the 8th World Sustainability Forum. However, registration to the event is mandatory.