System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
SRI is an emerging system of rice cultivation that was discovered through an unconventional agricultural practice in Madagascar in 1920s and in turn,adopted in different countries across the globe. In fact, it is a whole package of agronomic approaches which together exploit the genetic potential of rice plants; create a better growing environment (both above and below ground); enhance soil health; and reduce inputs. As such it becomes an alternative to conventional rice cultivation which has the intensive nature of application of water and inorganic inputs.This has the significant effect like increased production while limiting input cost in seed, labor, water etc. that holds the rationalization for sustainable development.
In the year 2008, Grameen Sahara started promoting this system as a partner organization of the Rashtriya Gramin Vikash Nidhi (RGVN) in some selected areas of Kamrup and Goalpara District. Later North Eastern Development Financial Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) also supported this project. Apart from generating awareness amongst the farmers, Grameen Sahara had facilitated the farmers with technical inputs in relevance to this alternative system. This system has the direct effect over several features of paddy growth and maturity like increased tillers, increased panicle length, more numbers of filled-up grains etc. Indeed there is the increased output of 1.5 times than that of the conventional practices. These outcomes of the project are communicated through different formal and informal meetings, workshops etc. amongst the farmers and other stakeholders. Besides, Grameen Sahara is also collecting data on all the parameters of production and investment; analyzing them in a scientific way so that the appropriate technology is transferred in farmers’ field. In this way, Grameen Sahara is facilitating both extension and grassroots action research at farmers’ field.This encourages more farmers to adopt the new system of rice cultivation; and in the way, this initiative becomes one of the major projects for Grameen Sahara.
As a way forward, this approach focuses on building skills and knowledge of farmers, local service providers etc. to engage effectively in markets. Further emphasis is given on the market orientation that enables smallholder farmers to successfully link themselves to improved technology; potential markets etc. producing what they can sell rather than trying to sell what they have produced.