SRI (System of Rice Intensification): Expansion is Essential

As part of the program “SRI: Advancing Small Farmers in the Mekong Region,” a fielday workshop was organized on September 20, 2008 in My Duc district, Ha Tay. At this meeting, SRD and the other SRI program partners discussed the success of the program so far and resolved to widen its application over the coming years.

sri_workshop
“SRI means maximum savings and maximum results.” – Farmer in Hop Tien commune, My Duc District, Ha Tay

“ SRI is a solution for sustainable agriculture” – Mr. Nguyen Duy Hong, Head of the Ha Tay Plant Protection Subdepartment

“SRI – Everything about it is good” –Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc, National Program Coordinator from SRD

As part of the program “SRI: Advancing Small Farmers in the Mekong Region,” a fielday workshop was organized on September 20, 2008 in My Duc district, Ha Tay (now part of the Hanoi administrative region).

The meeting was successfully organized with the collaboration of the Plant Protection Department (PPD), the Plant Protection Sub-Department (PPSD) of Ha Tay, the Plant Protection Station in My Duc, and the Hop Tien Commune Agricultural Cooperative. The meeting was also supported and attended by the Program Coordination Group, consisting of Oxfam America, Oxfam Quebec, and SRD.

The objective of this workshop was to share the results of farmers’ research and experience in applying SRI, as well as to contribute to advocacy and information dissemination efforts aimed towards the expansion of SRI. The workshop attracted a diverse crowd of 180 paticipant, including who farmers and technicians from Ha Tay, Yen Bai, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh and Hung Yen province. Representatives of some relevant organizations also attended workshop, including the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the FAO, World Vision, Oxfam America, Oxfam Quebec, SRD, VTV2, Hanoi Television and the newspapers Kinh tế Nông thôn (“Rural Economy”) and Hà Nội Mới (“New Hanoi”).

The current global food crisis has had a severe effect on the world’s poor and near-poor, most of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. By increasing productivity and reducing input costs, SRI has brought many remarkable benefits, making it one of the best solutions for rice growing farmers in the situation of the current crisis.

Ms. Nguyen Minh Toan of Tho Son village, Dai Nghia commune, My Duc district, Ha Tay had this to say about SRI: “Applying SRI and correctly following its principles allows farmers to achieve many savings. The first area of savings is seeds; before, 1 sao (360 sq. meters) of paddy required 1.5 kg of seeds, but now I only need 400 grams. The labor required to transplant seedlings is also reduced, and now I can complete an entire sao’s worth of transplanting in less than one day. Besides that, I only have to pump water into the fields twice in one season, as compared to four or more times before. I have also reduced my use of fertilizer, especially nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Before, I needed 8 kg per sao, and now I only need 5. Besides these decreases, SRI also helps reduce the costs and labor of pest and disease control. Before, applying pesticide was my least favorite type of work, and I used to feel so tired and get headaches after each application. The pesticide was also having a negative effect on my health, but if my field had pests, I would have to apply it, so as not to have a poor crop. But now with SRI, because I plant my seedlings farther apart from each other, there are less pests and diseases, so I don’t have to use pesticide. I think that’s a great improvement.”

In the one year summary meeting, representatives of all six provinces in which SRI is currently being applied said that SRI is an appropriate method, which has begun to bring an economic benefit to rice-growing farmers, and so its application should be expanded.

With the many successes of SRI in the project provinces, the donor representative, Ms. Le Nguyet Minh of Oxfam America, committed that in the future, OA would work to help farmers across Vietnam who wish to apply SRI in their fields. Over the next two years, the program plans to support at least 220,000 farmers in six provinces (Ha Tay, Yen Bai, Thai Nguyen, Nghe An, and Ha Tinh) apply SRI and expand the SRI model.

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