An SRI technique rice cultivation workshop was organized for a Phalode cluster farmers. 31 farmers attended. 17 farmers out of these have already used the SRI technique in planting the crop this year under the guidance of experts who were present during plantation in July.
What is SRI- System of Rice Intensification :
Everybody believes that rice is an aquatic plant and grows best in standing water. Rice is not an aquatic plant; it can survive in water but does not thrive under reduced oxygen (hypoxic) levels. Rice plants spend lot of energy to develop air pockets in its roots under continuous inundation, resulting in 70% of rice root tips getting degenerated by flowering period.
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) involves cultivating rice with as much organic manure as possible, starting with young seedlings planted singly at wider spacing in a square pattern; with intermittent irrigation that keeps the soil moist but not inundated. The process of tilling and weeding which is enabled by the wider plant spacing facilitates developing air pockets near the roots, which in turn results in quick and healthy growth of the rice plant.
SRI Paddy Cultivation requires less water, involves less expenditure and gives more yields. Thus, it is beneficial for small and marginal farmers. SRI was first developed in Madagascar during 1980s. It is now rapidly gaining acceptance in India. RCPM & WOTR are training farmers in SRI to increase yields in spite of incurring lower input costs.
In conventional farming, 3 seedlings are planted in a bunch, which are spaced 15X10cm while in SRI only single seedlings are planted, spaced 25X25cm. This reduces requirement from 66 plants per sq.m. to just 16, thereby cutting seed requirement from 20kg per acre to 2kg, while giving much more yield.
Report by Rtn Brig. Sunil Gokhale