The Potential of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to Increase Rice Water Productivity: a Case of Mkindo Irrigation Scheme in Morogoro Region, Tanzania


Rice plays a critical role in ensuring food security in developing countries. For majority of the world’s
small-scale farmers who live in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, rice is a major source of calories and the
single largest source of income. However, increases in rice production are now lagging behind population
growth, compounded by effects of climate change and variability. The system of rice intensification (SRI)
developed in Madagascar, is a system approach to increase rice productivity through proper management
of fewer inputs such as irrigation water and seeds. This study was therefore designed to evaluate the performance of SRI in Mvomero district in Morogoro region, Tanzania by implementing farmer field school
(FFS) pilot trials of SRI operated by farmers alongside on-station scientific experiments in Mkindo Irrigation scheme. The experiments were conducted for two consecutive years during the wet season (March- July
2011) and dry season (September 2011- January 2012). One rice variety TXD 306 (SARO) was planted on
plots in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with five treatments based on two water application
regimes of flooding and alternate wetting and drying (AWD), while the effects of transplanting age of seedlings and plant spacing (in cm) of 20×20 for T1 and T2, 25×25 for T3, 30×30 for T4, and 40×40 for T5 were
evaluated. The plant height, root depth, tillerig, biomass and grain yields, irrigation water use, and wetting
and drying intervals were evaluated and results were statistically analyzed using GENSTAT software. Highest grain yield was achieved in 25×25 (T3) and 30×30 (T4) SRI spacing. Under the SRI practice, 62.51%,
63.64%, 64.67%, and 64.07% water savings were noticed for T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively, compared
to the control (T1). SRI practice for planting space of 25×25 to 30×30 cm, wetting and drying interval of
three days, and younger seedling of 8-12 days are recommended as good combinations for SRI practice in
Mkindo area, Morogoro region.