Welcome To SRI – Africa !!
SRI Africa online contains most comprehensive collection of information system of Rice intensification in Africa. Many of the documents we wish to publish come directly from our partners: Farmers, Researchers, NGOs, government agencies and other stakeholders from around Africa.
What Is SRI?
The System of Rice Intensification, known as SRI is a set of principles developed to improve the productivity of rice grown in paddies. Unlike the conventional method of continuous flooding of paddy fields, SRI involves intermittent wetting and drying of paddies as well as specific soil and agronomic management practices. The SRI concept is built on the premise of “growing more with less water.
SRI methodology is based on four main principles that interact with each other:
- Early, quick and healthy plant establishment
- Reduced plant density
- Improved soil conditions through enrichment with organic matter
- Reduced and controlled water application
Based on these principles, farmers can adapt recommended SRI practices to respond to their agroecological and socioeconomic conditions. Adaptations are often undertaken to accommodate changing weather patterns, soil conditions, labor availability, water control, access to organic inputs, and the decision whether to practice fully organic agriculture or not. The most common SRI practices for irrigated rice production are summarized in the following section.
In addition to irrigated rice, the SRI principles have been applied to rainfed rice and to other crops, such as wheat, sugarcane, teff, finger millet, pulses, showing increased productivity over current conventional planting practices. When SRI principles are applied to other crops, we refer to it as the System of Crop Intensification or SCI (see SCI sectionof the website for details).
Components of SRI
SRI has seven major components (deviating from conventional flooded paddy)
- Transplant very young seedlings; i.e. at 8 to 12 days old, (instead of the conventional 3-4 weeks)
- Raising the seedlings in un-flooded nurseries and well-supplied with organic matter,
- Transplant seedlings at wider spacing and in a square pattern, usually 25×25 cm, giving roots and leaves more space to grow. Transplant seedlings quickly, carefully and shallow – taking care to have minimum trauma to roots.
- Transplanting only one seedling per hill (NOT of clumps of 3-4 seedlings),
- Alternate wetting and drying of the paddy field (do not continuously flood the soil) to ensure aerating of the root zone,
- Weed control is preferably done with a simple mechanical rotary weeder. This aerates the soil as it eliminates weeds, giving better results than either hand weeding or herbicides,
- Providing as much organic matter as possible to the soil.
Reasons why SRI is Win-Win Technology for Africa
- Under SRI, Rice Yields have Increased
- Less Inputs, Less Water Utilized- SRI uses less seed & farmers saved up to 80% of the cost of seed. Use of organic manures saves on costs of fertilizers. Fertilizers are applied to individual plants (not broadcasted) – less amounts used. Rotary weeding saves up to 75% on costs compared to manual weeding in Mwea, SRI saved 25-33% of water used in irrigation
- Quality of SRI Rice is Superior – SRI rice has a harder grain, thus less breakage during milling. This results in better grain quality making it sell faster at slightly higher price. Millers prefer SRI due to higher recovery of whole grains. SRI rice weight heavier than conventional paddy.
Comparing conventional paddy nursery with SRI Practice