The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an agronomic innovation with many important socio-economic ramifications. Assembled in Madagascar some 35 years ago, it has been gaining understanding and acceptance around the world over the past 20 years.
SRI benefits have now been demonstrated in over 60 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
SRI ideas and methods are achieving many remarkable results: significant increases in rice crop yield are accomplished by making reductions in seed requirements, in water use, in fertilizer application, and in costs of production, and often with less labor inputs.
SRI crops are more robust and better able to withstand the stresses and hazards of climate change. By using SRI practices, net greenhouse-gas emissions from rice paddies are decreased, which helps to abate the dynamics of global warming. Moreover, farmers are now applying this new thinking and practice beneficially to many other crops, wheat, millet, sugarcane, etc.
These effects make SRI an innovation of global significance, already improving the food security and livelihoods of probably 20 million households around the world. By reducing rather than increasing farmers’ costs of production, SRI is adding billions of dollars to household incomes while reducing the adverse impacts of agricultural production on the natural environment, thereby contributing to better health of our soils, our plants, our ecosystems, and ourselves.
Persons around the world should know more about this innovation, how it arose; how it was validated; how it is gaining acceptance; and how it is affecting millions of people’s lives.
ABOUT THIS MEMOIRE
This memoire is written from both exterior and interior perspectives, providing both objective information and personal insights on:
the processes whereby SRI came to be understood with extensive documentation of its scientific foundations and explanations;
how SRI came to be widely accepted despite initial resistance, with diverse institutions playing varied roles, both pro and con; and
how SRI has come to be widely used to in all kinds of countries, Bangladesh and Bhutan to Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Vietnam and Zambia, while also improving production of many different crops, from wheat and millet to mustard, sugarcane and tef.
This memoire is a work in progress. The chapters being posted are still drafts, with readers who have knowledge of different parts of the SRI story being invited to make suggestions, criticisms and corrections if they think these are needed. At this stage, these chapters should not be cited or circulated. Persons whom we would like to comment and critique are being informed about how to access the chapter drafts for getting feedback and input.
Because this is a participatory story, as explained in the Preface, we invite others to contribute chapter endnotes that elaborate on the story being told, and if they have had some involvement in the story, to contribute their own mini-memoires to the story. Examples of mini-memoires already written are posted to give an idea of the kind of contributions being solicited.