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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