Father Henri-de-laulanie, The Founder Of SRI.

Father Henri-de-laulanie, The Founder Of SRI.

The SRI methodology was synthesized in the early 1980s by Fr. Henri de Laulanié, S.J., who came to Madagascar from France in 1961 and spent the next (and last) 34 years of his life working with Malagasy farmers to improve their agricultural systems, and particularly their rice production, since rice is the staple food in Madagascar (see article listed below). Rice provides more than half the daily calories consumed in Madagascar, a sign of the cultural and historic significance of rice to Malagasies, but also an indication of their poverty. Fr. Laulanié want to help farmers improve their productivity without being dependent on external inputs because Malagasy households had so little purchasing power.

Fr. de Laulanié (right) established an agricultural school in Antsirabe in 1981 to help rural youths gain an education that was relevant to their vocations and family needs. Though SRI was “discovered” in 1983, benefiting from some serendipity, it took some years to gain confidence that these methods could consistently raise production so substantially. In 1990, together with a number of Malagasy colleagues, Fr. Laulanié established an indigenous non-governmental organization (NGO), named Association Tefy Saina, to work with farmers, other NGOs, and agricultural professionals to improve rural production and livelihoods in Madagascar. (See Uphoff article on Laulanié’s innovation).



In 1994, Tefy Saina began working with the Cornell International  Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) based in Ithaca, NY, to help farmers living in the peripheral zone around Ranomafana National Park to find alternatives to their slash-and-burn agriculture. So long as paddy yields, even with irrigation, averaged only 2 tons/hectare, rural households would need to continue growing upland rice and reducing Madagascar’s precious but endangered rain forest ecosystems. These could not last long unless paddy yields were raised on the limited irrigated lowland area. Farmers using SRI methods could averaged 8 tons/hectare after these methods were introduced around Ranomafana. A French project for improving small-scale irrigation systems on the high plateau during this same time period also found that farmers using SRI methods averaged over 8 tons/hectare, compared to 2.5 tons/ha with traditional methods and 3.7 tons/ha with improved methods using fertilizer. A separate evaluation commissioned by the French aid agency (Bilger, 1997) also confirmed average SRI yields of 9 tons/ha.

The name “Tefy Saina” means, in Malagasy, “to improve the mind,” indicating that this organization was not concerned just with rice, but also with helping people to change and enrich their thinking. Before he died in June, 1995, Fr. de published one article on SRI in the Belgian journal Tropicultura (13:1, 1993). (See English translation of a longer technical paper by Laulanié). During 2011, to recognize the 30th anniversity of Laulanié’s work with SRI, the Tropicultura editors included an article (Intensive rice farming in MadagascarTropicultura 29(3):183-187) in their journal, which is based on the original 1993 article.

Since 1997, a number of other papers or articles have been written about SRI. While most interest came initially from NGO and university circles, evaluations are now coming also from national research programs and international research institutes. More information (in French) about Fr. de Laulanié is available on the Tefy Saina website (Henri de Laulanié, le Visionnaire Realiste) and from an obituary in Jesuites en Mission – Chine Madure Madagascar (No. 255, Dec 1995-Jan1996).

7th rice-Africa, International Conference on Rice for Food, Market and Development, Abuja-Nigeria July 9-11, 2019

Rice-Africa is a Pan-African conference, which is being held annually in Africa, brings rice stakeholders (from the field to folk) together to create the needed synergy to support the rice industry. The conference is establishing itself as Africa largest and most international; rice promoters’ capacity building event with large delegates from all over the world. At the same time, the conference serves as a forum for all stakeholders engaged in rice production, processing, marketing, support service on the African continent.

The event is under the patronage of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria and organized by Rice Africa working Group Nigeria and Leap Domiciliaries Ltd.


The aim is to maximize the consumption of locally processed rice in Africa and enhancing sustainable livelihood.

The conference will bring together all the relevant stakeholders in the rice sector and discussed issues affecting the value chain from field to folk and how the public an private sectors should respond through regional collaboration.

The 7th rice-Africa Congress will consolidate on the achievements of the previous rice-Africa Congresses and focus on practical steps to rice value chain approaches to increase the market for locally processed rice in Africa by increasing the volume, improving quality and developing new market channels through creating access to finance, introducing improved processing techniques, initiating effective marketing and distribution channels.

The Congress which will hold on July 9-11, 2019 at Conference Hall, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Maitama, Abuja, will equally feature an exhibition by rice promoters and as well provide an avenue for stakeholders in the rice sector to interact for the desired business deals for development.

 rice-Africa 2019 conference and Exhibition will provide a forum for representatives from the public and private sectors including researchers, traders, processors, farmers, finance/banks, service providers, and manufacturers of rice production equipment, policy makers, and scientists. Delegates will discuss the latest approaches to rice-value chain development, rice innovations, future technologies, trade issues, financing, and policies that will define the future role of rice for food and development.

rice-Africa, international conference2019 is certainly the target destination for Africa’s agricultural decision-makers and practitioners in governments, public and private agriculture and corporate HRD. The event offers a unique opportunity to gain invaluable insights into the latest activities and achievements from the rice industry.

An attractive range of Plenary and Parallel Sessions, as well as Panel Discussions, will determine the two conference days. Also, in series of Workshops and Seminars, Participants will be offered the opportunity to learn a new skill, enhance their knowledge or gather information about a specific topic. Not only are such activities excellent opportunities in themselves but they are also extremely valuable networking activities in their own right. These are either full –or half day events and the number of participants is limited. We recommend you register as soon as possible, as places for these are limited.

The conference will be accompanied by an exhibition and Lunch Symposia presenting the latest developments, services and innovative systems.

We should be pleased to count you amongst our participants at this important event and look forward to welcome you in Abuja in July, 2019.

Assoc. Prof. Edwin E. Idu   (Team Leader)


Note: Participants requiring a formal letter of invitation to enable them to make their arrangements to participate in rice-Africa2019 may contact the rice-Africa2019 conference secretariat at dora@rice-africa.com


For more information: http://rice-africa.com/ 

Adopting the system of rice intensification (SRI) in Tanzania

Farmer visit to SRI plot in Mlimba village, Mlimba, Morogoro, TZ, village

Farmer visit to SRI plot in Mlimba village, Mlimba, Morogoro, TZ, village. Photo by Erika Styger

The demand of water for irrigation purposes in Tanzania outstrips the amount of water available for irrigation and other demands. On the other hand, the demand for more food to feed the growing population is increasing, calling for the need to have technologies and farming practices that ensure more food production while minimizing water uses. Rice is among cereal crops grown in Tanzania, and it can assist in meeting the food demand for the nation. Majority of rice producers in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa(SSA) are subsistence farmers and they practice continuous flooding, a technique that requires much water. In addition to using large amounts of water, the conventional practices of growing paddy using local varieties transplanting process are implemented when seedlings are more than 21 days old, and 3-4 seedlings are transplanted in one hole. This practice results in low yields, and low water productivity and water use efficiency. The system of rice intensification (SRI) on the other hand, is a promising new practice of growing paddy rice that has proven to be very effective in saving water and increasing rice yields in many parts of the world. SRI practice is spreading fast and it has been adopted in many countries. The SRI practice has been introduced in Tanzania during the last 3 years as such it is not widely practiced. This paper reviews SRI practice at global, regional and country (Tanzania) level, and evaluates the challenges, opportunities and implications for its adoption in Tanzania. Knowledge gaps at each level have been identified and discussed as well as suggestions for researchable areas.

Katambara, Zacharia, Kahimba. Frederick C. Mahoo, Henry F. Mbungu, Winfred B. Mhenga, Fikiri. Reuben, Paul. Maugo, Muyenjwa. Nyarubamba, Anthon. Adopting the system of rice intensification (SRI) in Tanzania: A review. http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=35698