SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI) Economic and Ecological Benefits of Improved production practice for Food Security and Resource Conservation

Abstract : Being the important ingredient of food basket of the common people, the declining productivity of rice and its per capita availability is a policy concern, which has a global connotation. System of rice intensification (SRI) is a relevant innovation, which increases production, reduces yield gap and ensures the household food security for the vulnerable section of small and marginal farmers. It has also tremendous potential for resource conservation; and important aspect for sustainability. The paper attempts to quantify the benefits of SRI and compare its performances with that of conventional practice of cultivation of rice. The relevant information gathered from the state of Tamil Nadu, which is a fore runner in promotion of SRI in India. The four districts of Tamil Nadu representing distinctive features of irrigation system and 58 farmers are selected for the detailed farm survey. Agriculture is dominated by the small farmers having a tiny farm of average size less than 1.4 ha of over 90% of the farmers. Hence, to produce more food from less land and other inputs for livelihood is a necessity. As a pre-requisite of SRI promotion, the farmers' motivation is gauged in a perception survey, which revealed that most of the farmers were aware of SRI, who have perfected its crucial principles. Estimated indicators of success clearly vindicated that the innovative practice has several socio economic as well as bio-physical benefits, including, increase in productivity, input saving and conservation of precious resources. The return to SRI is reasonably high at Rs.14875 per hectare to Rs. 17629 (equivalent US$309 to US$370) across the districts as compared to corresponding figure of Rs.9263 to Rs.14564 (US$192 to US$ 303) under conventional practices. Higher return is attributed to increase in production as well as substantial reduction in cost of cultivation. The most impressive is the savings in water (22% to 39% saving) and seed (as high as 92% saving) resulted to distinctive benefit-cost ratio. The organic supplementation due to compost, green manure and weed incorporation, enhanced soil microbial activities and aeration, often uncounted, the use of solar energy by the plant and time saving due to early transplantation, are some of the uncommon advantages of SRI. The gains to women labour engaged in specialized operations such as transplanting, harvesting and weeding indicate gender equity. In addition, SRI provides opportunity for employment of the idle family labour in rabi (post monsoon) season. The novelty of SRI is that research is inexpensive as the innovation is farmer based and invariant to crop variety (unlike modern method, variety needs not be new and input intensive technology). The estimated technical efficiency using DEAP also clearly show that SRI is more efficient (both in term of TE and economic efficiency). Therefore, having proven tangible benefits, appropriate strategy for upscaling the adoption is a sine-qua-non to achieve sustainable national as well as household food security. The successful models of SRI need to be integrated for generalization. In the changing scenario, given the general acceptance of the practice and willingness to accept, the needed preparedness for implementation of the policy to scale up the adoption will go a long way.
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Communication dans un congrès
Emilie COUDEL, Hubert DEVAUTOUR, Christophe-Toussaint SOULARD, Bernard HUBERT. ISDA 2010, Jun 2010, Montpellier, France. Cirad-Inra-SupAgro, 9 p., 2010
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B.C. Barah. SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI) Economic and Ecological Benefits of Improved production practice for Food Security and Resource Conservation. Emilie COUDEL, Hubert DEVAUTOUR, Christophe-Toussaint SOULARD, Bernard HUBERT. ISDA 2010, Jun 2010, Montpellier, France. Cirad-Inra-SupAgro, 9 p., 2010. 〈hal-00532992〉

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