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In January 2002, Muazzam Husain, acting director of research for BRAC, a large and effective NGO in Bangladesh, convened a workshop in Dhaka with a number of organizations that were interested in SRI and were getting involved with it. Besides BRAC, there were several other NGOs represented, including CARE/Bangladesh. The director-general of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute attended, as did the country representative for the International Rice Research Institute.[1] The Department of Agricultural Extension was represented by its deputy director in Kishoreganj district who had begun promoting the use of SRI there the previous year. Also in attendance was the director for technical and regulatory affairs of Syngenta Bangladesh Co. Ltd., the national branch of a well-known multinational agribusiness corporation, J. C. Saha Choudhury.[2]

Choudhury’s presence was unexpected although welcome. The powerpoint presentation that he made, which reported on the SRI trials that his company had conducted the previous season, showed very positive results with the new methods.[3] The first slide of his presentation was surprising, however. It announced that Choudhury was going to talk about “The Syngenta System of Rice Intensification.” As soon as he finished his presentation, the first question was: “Why do you call this ‘the Syngenta system’? It looks like the same thing as SRI?”

Choudhury’s response was that he thought the new methodology needed a name, so he had called it “the Syngenta system.” One of the NGO representatives answered: “But the system already has a name – SRI.” Choudhury shrugged his shoulders and said that this was fine with him if the methodology was already known in Bangladesh simply as ‘SRI.’

Choudhury was an active and supportive participant in the meeting, and when at the end of the workshop, its participants formed a national SRI steering committee to carry SRI work forward, he agreed to become a member, representing Syngenta and the private sector.[4] When BRAC and two other NGOs put together a two-year evaluation of SRI methods, to be conducted on hundreds of farmers’ fields with funding from IRRI’s PETRRA project, Syngenta joined as a fourth implementing member (Chapter 7).

This was probably the first direct involvement of a private sector entity in the validation and promotion of SRI as far as I know, but it was not the last. When visiting the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in 2004, I was shown a big, colorful calendar that promoted the use of SRI. It had been printed by the Andhra Pradesh Rice Millers’ Association and was being distributed (free) to farmers in that state. I asked my host, Satyanarayana, who had become the chief promoter of SRI in Andhra Pradesh state: why are millers promoting SRI this way? (They were also distributing thousands of leaflets to publicize and promote SRI.)

Satyanarayana said that the millers’ promotional efforts were prompted by their having found that they could get at least 10% more polished grain from SRI-grown paddy rice that they purchased for milling, as discussed in Chapter 11. When SRI paddy rice was milled, it had significantly less chaff and fewer broken grains. So, the higher milling outturn meant that SRI paddy rice was more profitable for millers, and they would pay more to get it, sharing some of the greater profits with the farmers who produced it.

This was consistent with what I began hearing also in Sri Lanka, China and Cuba. One study done by researchers at Sichuan Agricultural University in China had documented this effect in a proper scientific way (Chapter 11). If private rice millers were willing to spend their own money to promote the use of SRI, the claim that SRI methods produced more polished rice per bushel or bag of paddy rice was probably more reliably confirmed that it would be from on-station trials, because millers’ endorsement and expenditure of their own resources reflected actual results on a large scale and from farmers’ fields.

While private-sector support for promoting SRI has not been widespread, it has been important in certain countries and in some local areas. This chapter reviews a variety of private enterprise engagements with SRI, including some contributions made by corporations under the rubric of ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR).

CSR is a concept that goes back more than 50 years, but it has become more prominent in recent decades.

Some governments have even started requiring or enjoining companies to incorporate CSR into their policies, practices, and philanthropy.[5] SRI programs in India and Indonesia have been able to mobilize some funding for their work under CSR provisions. A good example of CSR support for SRI in India is a recent report of Hindu Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. promoting SRI use in Gujarat state.[6] Overall, SRI has not yet benefited very much from CSR mechanisms. But there are many different ways in which the acceptance of SRI has been assisted by private-sector actors.



In Jharkhand state, one of the oldest examples of CSR has been provided by the Usha Martin Ltd. company based in Ranchi. This corporation, one of the largest producers of wire rope in the world, undertook community and agricultural support starting in the early 1960s, before the concept of CSR was talked about. In the 1970s, Usha Martin established and supported an NGO, Krishi Gram Vikas Kendra, whose name means ‘Agriculture and Village Development Center.’ Over four decades, its engagement with communities in Jharkhand grew to include 300 villages having some 50,000 households.[7]

KGVK was one of the first organizations in Jharkhand state to introduce SRI, starting with 6 farmers in 2006-07. Working through the village networks that it had already established, the number of farmers using the new methods grew within seven years to almost 8,000, and it continued growing. One of the most important contributions that KGVK made to the spread of SRI within India, extending well beyond Jharkhand state, has been to develop, test, manufacture, and sell simple equipment of good quality for SRI and SWI practice – seeders, weeders, markers, threshers, etc. – designed for use by small and marginal farmers.[8]

Although SRI was introduced in Purulia district of West Bengal state quite early through NGO initiative, there was not much spread in the rest of the state for a number of years. One of the first organizations to join in promoting SRI in West Bengal was the Abuja Cement Ltd. company, India’s largest producer of cement. Through its CSR arm, the Abuja Cement Foundation, the company supported SRI demonstration and extension in West Bengal villages.[9]

Abuja’s SRI work started in 2009 with 174 farmers in villages where it already had established local development programs. Eight years later, this number was almost 10,000 farmers. So as in Jharkhand, private-sector initiative brought SRI opportunities to non-trivial numbers of smallholding farmers. Below is a picture sent from one of the Ambuja Foundation’s demonstration sites.  We note also that Tata Steel, a major Indian corporation, has supported SRI extension in Odisha and Jharkhand states under its corporate social responsibility program, with more than 8,000 farmers trained in these two states.[10]

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At the all-India SRI symposia in 2007 and 2008, organized by WWF, ICRISAT and other organizations, the large rice-trading firm Tilda, which became the top-selling brand of rice in Great Britain, made powerpoint presentations on its SRI activity with the title ‘Promotion of SRI with Basmati Rice in Haryana.’ Below is the slide that introduced the Tilda presentation at both symposia.

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The presentation gave few aggregate statistics, but it reported in some detail on the experience of two farmers who had used SRI methods, whose yields were quite impressive. Based on the company’s experience with SRI in the ‘Green Revolution’ state of Haryana, the company strongly endorsed the innovation. In terms of grain quality, Tilda reported that SRI rice has:

  • Greater head rice recovery, i.e., less breakage of grains during the milling process;

  • Reduced chalkiness, an effect noted in Chapter 11 supported by data from China;

  • Fewer green grains and fewer immature gains, reflecting the crop’s more even ripening;

  • Fewer damaged and discolored grains, so there is less need for and cost of sorting these out; and

  • ‘Better shining,’ i.e., better and brighter polishing.[11]


Both Tilda presentations concluded with this sentence: “SRI has tremendous potential for small farmers.” Unfortunately, Tilda as a company did not interact with the rest of the SRI community in India, and little was learned after 2008 about its work with SRI. Tilda was the first and for a while the only organization to promote SRI in Haryana state. Given the enthusiasm Tilda stated for SRI, it may have had some ongoing effects in that state.

The most concerted and beneficial private-sector support for SRI in India (and beyond) has come from AgSri, based in Hyderabad.[12] This operates as a ‘social enterprise,’ a category of organization that is starting to gain attention worldwide. AgSri functions a private company having the not-for-profit purposes of a non-governmental organization.[13] This consulting company founded and headed by Biksham Gujja emerged out of the WWF-ICRISAT dialogue program based at ICRISAT when WWF and the CGIAR system were not interested in extending their joint activity beyond 2010.

Biksham and WWF-ICRISAT program colleagues formed AgSri to continue their promotional work for SRI and especially for the Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI, Chapter 14) that they had launched under the program’s auspices. As of 2021, AgSri was working in four states in southern India with about 20 staff members while actively looking for investments to up-scale its efforts in extension and technology.

Two other social enterprises in India that assisted SRI in its early years should be mentioned. The BASIX Social Enterprise Group founded by Vijay Mahajan developed an innovative program to make the extension of SRI self-financing.[14] It started with 2 farmers in Odisha state in 2005-06, and four years later, participation had expanded to over 18,000 farmers in five states. Farmers paid BASIX a fixed fee per month for their first season, this payment covering the costs of the organization for training and supervision. The amount paid by farmers was more than recovered in just one season as farmers found that their average costs of production were reduced by 6%, and their net income from rice production was increased by more than six-fold. (It should be said that traditional methods of rice production were miserably unremunerative.)[15]

Sathguru Management Consultants has had a long partnership with Cornell’s International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In May 2002, when I was starting to try to draw attention to SRI in India, Sathguru’s chairman, K. Vijayaraghavan, assisted me (and himself accompanied me) in making high-level contacts within Indian state governments. This included meetings with all of the directors of the Tamil Nadu Department of Agriculture and then with the Secretary of Agriculture for Andhra Pradesh state, plus a seminar at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai.

Nature Bio-Foods Ltd., a subsidiary of one of the largest food companies in India (LT Foods Ltd.), was already engaged with organic food production, processing and distribution when it became involved with SRI in 2012 through its CEO, Tapan Ray. Tapan had heard about SRI previously, having seen and heard about it in his home state of Tripura. He saw possibilities for expanded involvement with SRI after he met and talked with the owners of Lotus Foods, Ken Lee and Caryl Levine, at a food industry trade show. (Lotus Foods is discussed below.)

Together they worked out an arrangement whereby Nature Bio-Foods would assist Indian farmers to grow a flavorful traditional ‘heirloom’ variety of basmati rice organically and with SRI methods. Lotus Foods agreed to import this rice for sale in the US, paying fair-trade and organic premiums for it, thereby benefiting both farmers and consumers. Tapan subsequently established his own company, Pratithi Organic Foods, which has continued and expanded the previous nengagement with SRI production methods.[16]

In 2019, the NBL Bank in Maharashtra state posted a video on its CSR initiative supporting SRI extension through a grant made to a local NGO, Dilas Janvikas Pratishthan. The video reported that this program was already benefiting 23,000 households with doubled yields or more and with lower costs of production.[17]

The greatest support for SRI dissemination in India apart from that from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has come from the Tata Foundation, based in Mumbai. It is operationally separate from the Tata Group, a multinational conglomerate holding company founded in India 150 years ago, which finances the foundation. Tata engagement with SRI is considered in the next chapter because while this is private-sector support, decisions on SRI have come from the foundation rather than from the corporation. In absolute terms, the private-sector assistance given to SRI in India has been diverse and commendable, although relative to the huge size of the country, it has been fairly modest and could have been considerably greater.



The private-sector role in gaining acceptance for SRI in this country has been more influential than elsewhere. While there were NGO, government and university initiatives for SRI in Indonesia early on, the biggest advance came after Shuichi Sato, a senior engineer with the Japanese consulting firm Nippon Koei, became involved with SRI in 2002. Sato was the leader of Nippon Koei’s technical advisory team for a large irrigation improvement project in eastern Indonesia, funded by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation and implemented under the auspices of the Indonesian government’s Ministry for Public Works.

This project and some of its impacts are discussed in Chapter 7 and will be elaborated in Chapter 39.[18] This initiative coming from a private-sector entity was driven by the desire of Sato to make the project succeed and to have greater water efficiency and agricultural productivity for the thousands of households who were dependent on irrigated rice production in the eight eastern provinces of the country where the large project was located. But his involvement with SRI went beyond his formal responsibilities.

Sato happened to become acquainted with an Indonesian government agronomist, Alik Sutaryat, who had pioneered the introduction of organic SRI in some communities in Java under the FAO-initiated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program which worked through farmer field schools. Alik’s effort led to creation of the Tasikmalaya farmer’s cooperative that supplies organic SRI rice to Lotus Foods (Chapter 17, and below). Together Alik and Sato established an NGO which they named Aliksa, melding their names, to promote organic SRI production, which was beyond the scope of the irrigation project.

Within the project, Sato did not try to promote fully-organic SRI production, finding that getting farmers to cut their dependence on chemical fertilizer in half, in addition to reducing their use of irrigation water and their seed rate was already a big challenge. However, he understood the merits of organic rice production and wanted to spread this. This could be done better by an NGO operating separately from a government-based irrigation project.

Alik and Sato were joined by an idealistic businessman Ahmed Jatika who like them saw merit in organic SRI. When Sato returned to Japan, Alik began working with a large Indonesian foundation MEDCO that wanted to promote organic agriculture in Indonesia. At Jatika’s initiative, the NGO Aliksa morphed into the Nagrak Organic SRI Center (NOSC), eventually renamed the Nusantara Organic SRI Center in West Java, shown in Chapter 25.[19]

How Jatika used his business experience and skills as well as own resources to give a push to SRI acceptance across the country and into some neighboring countries is discussed in Chapter 39. He worked closely with Iswandi Anas at the national agricultural university, IPB, and with other IPB faculty in launching NOSC activities, providing facilities for students to do research on SRI either at or away from the NOSC center at Nagrak.

Jatika was able to some extent to take advantage of the Indonesian CSR policy which enjoined private companies to spend a certain percentage of their pre-tax profits for socially-useful purposes. His rapport with businessmen, being himself a former businessman, made it easier to get CSR grants for his NOSC operations from large companies such as Garuda Airlines and Marathon Oil.[20]

Important early private-sector support for SRI acceptance in Indonesia came from the country’s largest producer of tobacco products, PT HM Sampoerna.[21] This was arranged by Sato under the Japanese-funded irrigation project mentioned above, before he began working with Jatika and Iswandi in the Aliksa and NOSC initiatives. In 2008, Sampoerna provided a facility on Lombok island, rent-free, for conducting SRI trials and demonstrations. It also funded several training programs for SRI in different parts of the country.[22] Below is a picture taken at the Sampoerna SRI research station when I visited it on Lombok in 2009. This was the only example we know of where a private company funded SRI research and facilities.

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The spirit and knack for entrepreneurship that had made Jatika successful in his business enterprises was brought to his SRI work in Indonesia. But it is important to note that his and NOSC efforts were coordinated with and linked to other sectors -- to universities, to government agencies, even to the Indonesian army.

Below is a picture of some SRI training given by NOSC to military officers in a paddy field. Jatika, in a white shirt, is standing beside an officer who is separating a single seedling from a clump of young seedlings taken from an SRI nursery, while Iswandi Anas, standing in the back in a red shirt, looks on. Indonesia is the only country where there has been such direct cooperation with the military.

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There has been less acceptance of SRI in this country than in many others, despite several starts through government, NGO, university or international organization initiative, discussed in Chapter 42. The most effective initiative here has come from a businessman-farmer who is also an inventor and philanthropist, Asif Sharif, whose background is discussed in Chapter 25. Here his contributions as a private-sector actor to the further innovation and spread for SRI and SCI are summarized.

After a successful career in both farming and farm machinery imports and sales, Sharif reflected on how ‘modern’ agricultural practices were degrading the soil and water resources of the Punjab region where he lived and farmed, through soil compaction, waterlogging, and excessive use of chemical fertilizers. In 2008 he came across the SRI-Rice website on the internet and was intrigued by SRI’s alternative practices. From communication also with Amir Kassam in the UK, he began reading about Conservation Agriculture and organic production methods, wanting to combine the advantages of each with those of SRI, creating what he called ‘paradoxical agriculture’ because it can produce more output with fewer inputs.

Because he was carrying out large-scale farming operations in an area where there was a scarcity of agricultural labor available (given heavy rural-to-urban migration), Sharif concluded that for SRI and the other practices to gain acceptance, they would need to be mechanized as much as possible. So, he set about adapting and designing machinery to achieve this, the results of which are seen in Chapter 19.

When his mechanized version of SRI was first evaluated -- on a large laser-leveled ‘test plot’ of 17.5 hectares -- the methods gave a yield of 12 tonnes per hectare, more than double the usual paddy yield in the region. So, he set up a private company Pedaver Pvt. Ltd. to support his new operations.[23]

As important as the yield improvement achieved were the reductions in both labor and water requirements that his capital-intensive methods made possible, with both labor and water inputs being reduced by 70% with much higher yield.[24] This technology was too costly for smallholders to utilize by themselves; however, machinery services could be rented out to them at reasonable cost. As the prevailing low price received for rice did not make mechanized SRI production very profitable, Sharif turned his attention and efforts to adapting the machinery and methods to other crops, developing mechanized SCI for wheat, potatoes, sugarcane, and other crops (Chapter 14).[25] Below is a slide from a Pedaver powerpoint presentation.

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Although Sharif was well-acquainted with many government decision-makers, he was not able to get them interested in these opportunities at first, at least not until there was a change in government.[26] He hoped to get local technical centers set up in rural areas that could give smallholding farmers training on SRI and SCI and also give them opportunities to rent machinery for tasks like constructing permanent raised beds that would increase their productivity, save water, and diminish soil erosion.[27]

Given the limitations of governmental effectiveness in Pakistan, some innovative combination of technical and organizational means promoted with private-sector initiative and incentives could take SRI and SCI in directions different from other countries. In recent years, Sharif has further developed the intensified farming system, which he now calls PQNK. The number of his followers on Facebook has risen to 4.4 million in Pakistan, as his messaging is filling in for gaps in the government’s agricultural extension service.[28]



Taiwan was one of the later countries to evaluate SRI under local conditions, prompted by contacts between university faculty and their Japanese SRI colleagues. When SRI work got started in 2008, the faculty had few resources with which to work, even though their initial results were good, and SRI methods could be shown to address critical problems in the rice sector.[29]

Fortunately, a large medical supply company in Taiwan, Caremed Supply Inc., which considers environmental conservation to be part of its corporate mission,[30] agreed to support work on SRI, and also to underwrite a new Taiwan membership organization that promotes both Conservation Agriculture and SRI.[31] This is a clear and simple case of private-sector support for SRI not coming from an agricultural company.



In this country, Anthony Wong, managing director of the tourism and hotel company Asian Overland Services, has taken a personal interest in SRI and joined the SRI network in Malaysia, SRI-Mas.[32] He has provided staff support for certain SRI-Mas activities, including the building of its website and assisting with an October 2018 meeting in Johore that brought together representatives from 8 national SRI networks and 5 other countries in the region to start planning for the creation of an Asian SRI Alliance.[33] This is an example of unexpected but welcome private-sector backing for SRI.



Not all private sector involvement with SRI has been positive or altruistic. In 2009, an agribusiness company in Tanzania, Kilombero Plantations Ltd. (KPL), owned by the British firm Agrica, invited the WWF/ICRISAT program in India to provide SRI training to farmers and supervisors in Tanzania who were working with this company.[34]

KBL’s business model was to have a nucleus plantation (>5,800 hectares) where rice would be grown by the company, complemented by an ‘outgrower’ program under which about 5,000 small farmers would receive credit, inputs and services on a contractual basis to grow rice that would be bought and milled by the company. The larger volume of throughput would make the milling and other operations more profitable. Although Vinod Goud’s training presented a full picture of SRI, the version that KPL promoted was only partial, as KPL made credit and the provision of inorganic fertilizer part of the package of practices that it disseminated (required as a condition for loans). The KPL version also included purchase of certain variety of seed mandatory which made farmers more rather than less input-dependent.

From the start, even partial use of SRI methods raised farmers’ rainfed rice yields by two to three times. An evaluation by Japanese researchers found that SRI methods were giving smallholders yields of rainfed rice up to 5 tonnes per hectare when the average yield in the area was 1.8 tonnes. KPL’s plantation was producing 3 tonnes of paddy rice per hectare, which this meant that the smallholding outgrower-farmers were greatly surpassing the company’s mechanized, input-intensive yield.[35]

Considerable dissatisfaction with KPL’s mode of operation developed among the outgrower-farmers and others. To establish its nucleus plantation, more than a hundred smallholder households were displaced from their homes and farms, and there were many ensuing disputes about the relocation and compensation.[36] For the company to provide farmers with fertilizer and pesticides on credit, as well as with a particular seed variety, was certainly at variance from SRI’s recommended methodology.[37] And KPL’s contractual arrangements with outgrowers for credit and for the purchase of their rice after harvest were decidedly one-sided.

KBL’s requiring farmers to buy and use certain external inputs raised their costs of production and meant that their increases in income were thus less than expected. Also, KPL paid farmers a relatively low set price for their rice when they sold it to the company at harvest time in order to repay their loans. In one year, when the prevailing market price for rice fell sharply due to the government’s trade miscalculations, the price that farmers that received from KPL was unilaterally lowered to only half of what had been agreed upon at the start of the season.

On the other hand, when the market price subsequently rose significantly, KPL paid farmers only the previously-agreed price, making them lose income that they could have gotten by selling their rice on the open market. Farmers’ dissatisfaction was understandable.[38] Farmers were not unhappy with their SRI training or the methods they learned, however. The new practices were definitely beneficial for farmers and for the environment.[39] However, the financial and legal arrangements that KPL put in place made SRI less of a boon than anticipated.

One downside of SRI’s being an open-access innovation, not patented, is that anyone can use it, without restrictions. SRI proponents have no control over how it is used by others. So, it can happen that the productivity of SRI methods can be appropriated by some businesses operating in their own interest rather than that of farmers. However, farmers in Kilombero Valley do not need to enter into outgrower contracts with KPL, and many farmers who learned about SRI through training or from neighbors have opted to remain outside the KPL system, so that the gains in productivity are theirs.

In 2019, KBL filed for bankruptcy because of unpaid loans, so its business model even though quite extractive (or maybe because of this) proved to be unviable. This did not discredit SRI, fortunately, because by this time, the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania had begun its own SRI dissemination with some assistance from the UN-FAO(Chapter 31).[40]  



A different kind of private-sector support in Eastern Africa has come from the AquaSan Tec Group established and led by a Kenyan of Indian origin, Chandu Shah, the group’s chairman. With environmental conservation and economic equity as part of its mission, this group of companies manufactures equipment designed for smallholding farmers, to help them to make more productive use of their own resources of land, family labour, and cattle, and of available natural resources, creating benefits rather than costs for the environment.

The Group’s main products are biogas digesters which produce bioslurry as a by-product that provides high-quality organic fertilizer for gardens and fields; hardware and storage tanks for rainwater harvesting; also feeding and drinking troughs for cattle, as well as hermetically-sealed silos that can store up to 360 kgs of grain, eliminating harvest losses while keeping the stored grain fresh-tasting. The economic gains (including savings) that households can reap from this equipment are enough so that its cost can be paid off in less than three years, making this a very bankable enterprise.

The AquaSan Tec Group is comprised of like-minded social enterprises: Kentainers Ltd. in Kenya; Crestanks Ltd. in Uganda; Aqusan Ltd. in Rwanda; and Afritank Ltd. in Zambia. Each has its own manufacturing operations, while another associate, Aquasan SS Ltd. in Southern Sudan, operates a sales and service depot, with plans to set up manufacturing operations as soon as conditions in Southern Sudan permit.

The Covid pandemic slowed down an initiative that the AquaSan Tec Group discussed with the Equity Bank (Kenya) Ltd. and its not-for-profit Equity Group Foundation. This would make credit available on a large scale for smallholders to purchase the equipment on favorable terms and produce their own energy (biogas) and fertilizer (digester slurry) as well as meet their needs for water by rainwater harvesting and storage.[41]

This would increase households’ monthly income several-fold, so they can pay their monthly loan installments with ease. Changing household cooking over to biogas (little or no smoke) has health benefits as well as economic and environmental advantages. The associated bioslurry and water storage supports households’ growing of high-quality fodder for their cattle, which increases milk production while their organic gardens improve household nutrition and income. The biogas digesters can be operated with as few as four native cows.

Once Chandu learned about SRI, he recognized how SRI and SCI would fit in with his company's objectives, and he began spreading information about this innovation, also making connections with Biksham Gujja (AgSri in India) regarding the use of SSI methods for sugarcane production as this is relevant for many of the smallholders that his company services (Chapter 14). Below is a picture of Biksham and Chandu in front of two SSI sugarcane plants thatwere being grown at Chandu’s factory in Nairobi and supplied with bioslurry. The extrapolated yield on a per-hectare basis was phenomenal, much higher than any previously reported yield. Chandu met with Biksham and other SRI colleagues in India during his regular visits to that country.

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The plan still under discussion with Equity Bank is to make credit for AquaSanTec Group’s products and services available to tens of thousands of households in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda in the first stage of the cooperation, with a potential market of several hundred thousand households in these countries and beyond. The training for equipment purchasers would include also training on the use of the climate-smart practices of the System of Crop Intensification for several crops.



When the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) began assisting INIA, the national agricultural research institute in this country, in introducing and adapting SRI here, the Venezuelan branch of Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, joined in the evaluation and extension efforts. Nestlé staff participated in the initial IICA training, and then helped to disseminate SRI in the state of Guárico. Its technical staff worked with farmers and government agents to develop a modified direct-seeder for SRI that would reduce labor requirements, seen below in operation on a 28-hectare test field, with a comparison of the rice plant phenotypes which farmers could assess for themselves.

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Among other things, Nestlé was interested in the contribution that growing rice with SRI methods could make to reducing the uptake of toxic heavy metals into rice grains, which is becoming a worldwide concern. In the initial trials, there was a 24% reduction in the concentration of arsenic in SRI grains (115 ppb vs. 151 ppb). There was no effect seen for reducing cadmium uptake, however, with both SRI and conventional rice grains having 8 ppb. In terms of yield, there was a 40% increase under SRI management (9.6 tonnes per hectare vs. 6.9 tonnes).

IICA reports that Nestlé is continuing its collaboration on SRI given the substantial increases in productivity and decreases in arsenic. This collaboration has been at the initiative of the Venezuelan branch of Nestlé, much like the Syngenta involvement with SRI in Bangladesh that was reported at the start of this chapter. This corporate work with SRI has proceeded despite the political-economic turmoil and disruption in the country during the latter 2010s.


The representative of IICA in this country, Manuel Sanchez, has reported that a very important contribution to the adoption of SRI principles in the Dominican Republic has been the involvement of the seed company FERSAN. In order to reduce dependency of foreign labor and to reduce seed planting costs, it introduced Korean machinery for SRI transplanting and weeding operations.

Although the company’s initial goal was to improve efficiency, it found that the reduction of planting densities reduced its costs and improved yields significantly. However, the recommended SRI spacing of 25 cm has not been easy to reach because the farmers, like almost everywhere else, were hard to persuade that optimum sparsity was more productive than the customary density. Rice farmers have received the company’s involvement with SRI enthusiastically, Sanchez wrote, since it assures long-term involvement of the commercial sector.



Companies in these two countries have shown little interest in SRI, even though some of their CSR support could have been put to very good use. As it has happened, however, in each country a small privately-owned company, owned and operated by a husband-wife team, provided valuable private-sector support for SRI in different but complementary ways.

There have been numerous references in preceding chapters to Lotus Foods, a rice-importing company founded in 1995 by Ken Lee and Caryl Levine and based in Richmond, California in the San Francisco Bay area. When Ken and Caryl learned about SRI from Olivia Vent at a food-industry exposition, they quickly grasped its potential for improving the situations for rice producers and for the environment. Also, as a company trying to help conserve rice biodiversity by developing and satisfying consumer demand for ‘heirloom’ rice varieties grown in various countries, Lotus Foods was committed to fair-trade and to good environmental citizenship.[42]

A non-financial partnership developed between Lotus Foods and SRI-Rice, and commercial relationships between Lotus Foods and SRI-Rice partners such as CEDAC in Cambodia and BloomAgro in Indonesia. This activity was supported by the knowledge and talents of Olivia Vent, who worked with both Lotus Foods and SRI-Rice and helped with problem-solving for exporting rice to the US market. Ken and Caryl began proselytizing for SRI, even in venues as exalted as the Clinton Global Initiative, and they developed value-added products such as microwaveable rice bowls, snack crackers and noodles in which they use or plan to use ‘heirloom’ rices that are SRI-grown and organically-grown.

Lotus Foods’ efforts have been recognized and honored within the food industry by a number of awards for their social entrepreneurship and environmental stewardship.[43]  They have made SRI’s producing ‘more crop per drop’ and its reducing women rice-producers’ labor and drudgery into positive appeals for consumers in the US. One of the most unusual promotions for SRI was a 2-minute video shown on American Airlines flights in the US in 2016, explaining the benefit of SRI for producers, consumers, and the natural environment.[44]

In England, Sue Price and Declan McCormack set up a small company in a village south of London, Flooded Cellar Productions, which films and produces videos focused on developmental issues and possibilities.[45] The quality of their work was such that they have done a lot of video work for IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development. In 2012 while in Burundi on an IFAD assignment, they literally stumbled across SRI methods being used on the field of Mathilde Nibigira and asked her about this strange-looking rice paddy with so few plants and so little water.

Mathilda, seen below on the left with her neighbor Isidonie Hiboniya, another SRI proponent in the village, explained SRI to them very clearly and confidently. Mathilda had learned about SRI from a visit to an IFAD program in neighboring Rwanda. Declan and Sue videotaped the interview and other scenes in the areas, acquainting themselves with the methods and with the farmers.

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When they moved on to Rwanda, Declan and Sue picked up the story thread with farmers there who had learned SRI methods from Tefy Saina trainers whom IFAD had brought in from Madagascar. Sue and Declan did some more videotaping with farmers, and when they got to Madagascar on this same IFAD assignment, they did still more free-lance videotaping. Sue and Declan managed during their travel to read up on SRI from the SRI-Rice website and quickly grasped its principles and essentials, even though they were not trained in agronomy.

From their videotaping they put together a short, 8-minute video on SRI in the three countries which they posted on YouTube after checking some of the details with SRI-Rice.[46] Sue and Declan had still a lot more video material on SRI from the three countries which they wanted to edit and produce as a set of four training videos which could be posted for viewing free anywhere. SRI-Rice contacted the president of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanza, who was a friend of SRI, about this, and he agreed to provide some IFAD funding to produce this proposed set of videos.[47]

While on subsequent IFAD assignments in Nepal and Sierra Leone, Declan made contact with SRI colleagues there and took video footage that Flooded Cellar could make into videos which presented SRI experience in these two countries.[48] In 2018, Flooded Cellar Productions produced a video presenting impacts of the EU-funded project for farmer-participatory evaluation and adaptation of SRI methods in rainfed areas of the Lower Mekong River Basin (Chapter 7).[49] As reported in Chapter 15, Sue and Declan also established in the UK a website and an organization, SRI4Women, which seeks to communicate widely and visually on the internet how SRI practices can make women’s lives better, healthier, and more secure.[50]

A very welcome, indeed crucial, assist for SRI spread came at the end of 2021 from an altruistic businessman in the UK. Adam Parr who was enrolled in a PhD program at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University was a quite unexpected source of support.[51] Adam had decided to devote a good part of his time and resources to doing what he could to slow down climate change and global warming. He learned about SRI through his association with Project Drawdown,[52] which had identified SRI as one of the most effective means to reduce methane emissions from flooded rice paddy fields. Having studied the SRI-Rice website to learn more about SRI, Adam contacted SRI-Rice to discuss collaboration on accelerating efforts to extend SRI around the world.

Adam set up at Oxford an organization, SRI-2030, with a small, dedicated staff that could take new initiatives coordinated with SRI-Rice. SRI-2030 was supported by a small foundation for which he had responsibility, the Downforce Trust,[53] which provided some support to SRI-Rice as well. Although he appreciated the many other benefits that SRI can produce for farmers and the environment, Adam wanted to focus on urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Chapter 12), a concern shared by SRI-Rice and its many partners.

Methane is the greenhouse gas that most drives global warming in the short-run, so the mission of SRI-2030 was to reach by 2030 the Project Drawdown target of 50 million hectares under SRI management by the year 2050. There seemed to be no good reason why rice farmers should be continuing with conventional rice-growing methods, so why settle for a gradual spread? Adam’s contribution to SRI spread could be considered in the chapters on foundations or on universities. But his bringing private-sector perspectives, experiences and contacts, not to mention energy and imagination, was a great augmentation of efforts for the extension of SRI.



Some of the examples reported in this chapter can give the impression that social concerns are only for small companies, but SRI has benefited from some large ones in Switzerland. After receiving one of the first SEED awards, discussed in the preceding chapter, there was some disappointment that the prize did not have any cash award attached to it. The SEED program, based at the UN, was successful, however, in persuading companies to give some support to the winners.

A large insurance company in Switzerland, Swiss Re, the second largest re-insurer in the world, put up US$14,000 that helped the NGO CEDAC, working with SRI-Rice and Lotus Foods, to establish a supply chain for SRI farmers in Cambodia, growing an aromatic heirloom variety of jasmine rice, so that they could link with overseas rice importers. This effort was assisted by Christine Gradl, a management specialist (from Germany, not Switzerland) who took six months of paid leave from her employer, McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest consulting firms,[54] to work with this initiative. A grant from the U.S. State Department also helped launch this value-chain development, with the case for this grant strengthened by having Christine’s assistance in laying the organizational groundwork and market analysis for this linkage.

Some readers may have been surprised to read at the beginning of this chapter that the Bangladesh branch of Syngenta was involved early on in the SRI story in that country. In fact, there was more to Syngenta’s assistance to SRI than that early encounter. Quite by chance, at the International Rice Congress held in Hanoi in 2010, Biksham Gujja, founder of the Indian social enterprise AgSri, and I became acquainted with the chief executive officer of Syngenta International AG, which is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland.

Michael Mack and I had both been invited by the rice congress organizers to speak on a plenary panel for the Congress’ opening session, scheduled in place of a keynote address. Syngenta was paying for Biksham’s participation in the congress, perhaps because of his connection with WWF, also based in Switzerland. Fortuitously, the three of us were seated together during a dinner party that the Swiss Ambassador in Hanoi put on at the Swiss embassy the evening before the Congress began.

The dinner was elegant, but for Biksham and myself it was eclipsed by the extended and amiable conversation that we and Mike Mack carried on during the multiple courses. It was evident that none of us ‘had horns,’ even though all of us had some associates who would have regarded the other one or two of the three as ‘diabolical capitalists’ or as ‘environmental extremists.’ Michael shared his concerns about environmental degradation and the urgent need to increase opportunities and security for the world’s poor majority.[55] His presentation on the panel the next day addressed many of the Congress attendees’ concerns and was self-critical about some of his company’s past practices.

Through its Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture,[56] Syngenta had already given some support for SRI trials and demonstrations in Mali and India. Below is a picture of Mike Mack standing by one of the Foundation’s demonstration plots in Chennai that used Syngenta hybrid seeds with SRI methods. He is holding the handle of a mechanical hand weeder used for SRI cultivation. So, there was already basis for friendly conversation when we first met.

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In 2012, Biksham Gujja emailed me with an urgent concern. The Syngenta company had filed 11 patent applications for ‘inventions’ that its scientists in Brazil had developed for growing sugarcane from pre-germinated seedlings. This was essentially a high-tech version of the Sustainable Sugarcane Intensification that had been developed by Indian farmers and AgSri, as discussed in Chapter 14. The matter that worried Biksham was that a number of Syngenta’s proposed patents overlapped with the simple procedures for bud-extraction and seedling production which were essential parts of SSI. The patents if granted could potentially limit what Indian and other farmers could do with SSI methods.

We wrote jointly to Mike Mack expressing our concern that at least some of the patents filed for could be used to obstruct or regulate the spread of SSI, or to try to collect royalties from farmers for using SSI methods. We pointed out these methods had not been ‘discovered’ by Syngenta researchers. They were already being used by farmers in India and elsewhere.  Moreover, information on them had already been published by WWF/ICRISAT and AgSri, putting them in the public domain. We also suggested that farmers and civil society in India would be very upset if Syngenta appeared to be trying to appropriate these methods for its own advantage and control.

A quick and cordial response was received from Mike, who was on vacation (August being vacation time in Europe), saying that he would look into this matter as soon as he returned to headquarters. He soon sent an explanation that the simple methods we were concerned about had been included among the patent applications because they were precursors for the higher-tech innovations that Syngenta wanted to have patent rights over and which it wanted to keep competitors from controlling. Biksham visited the Syngenta headquarters in Basel soon thereafter and talked with lawyers and others there. It was quickly agreed that Syngenta would withdraw the overlapping patent applications, which was what we felt was needed. We were not concerned with Syngenta ownership of the high-tech innovations which were not relevant to most sugar growers.

We had this access to the top levels of this huge company only because of the fortuitous happenstance explained above. We found Syngenta leadership receptive to our concerns regarding smallholder and environmental interests.[57] This does not mean that all agribusiness corporations are or will be similarly accommodating. We do not know about this because we have had no similar opportunities for interaction.

*     *     *     *     *     *

This experience with Syngenta underscored what had been learned from dealing with a great many organizations in other sectors. How organizations act depends very much upon individuals at various levels -- on their values, personality, openness, curiosity, and so forth. Institutional pressures, incentives and constraints are omnipresent; but how they get responded to can vary considerably depending on the person or persons involved, their past experiences, their friendship networks, their value commitments. As this chapter shows, in the course of the SRI quest, we have met and worked closely with a great variety of persons in private-sector roles.

The examples here have shown what persons who work in the private sector can do for an innovation like SRI, not particularly for making profits, although that was the motivation for the Andhra Pradesh Rice Millers’ Association, but for achieving social benefits by utilizing the resources, organization and skills of private companies to produce more or new social goods. In the next chapter, the contributions of a British businessman with both academic and business connections came at a critical time for SRI, supporting expansion of SRI use around the world, to reduce GHG emissions, through the Downforce Foundation.

As companies in many countries take corporate social responsibility more seriously, and as persons who are successful in business seek to engage in social entrepreneurship,[58] we may see more altruistic contributions coming from the private sector to support SRI and other innovations. These phenomena of corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship can mobilize skills and experience gained in the for-profit sector to create streams of benefit that are widely and freely available. This is particularly important for persons and families who do not have the purchasing power to benefit from standard market transactions.

One of the problems for SRI has been that it is based on knowledge rather than on ownable and saleable inputs. Over the last several decades, agricultural technology has been increasingly become something that can be bought and sold. SRI has thus been going against the current (or tide or headwind) of ‘proprietarization’ of agricultural technology. There has always been mostly private ownership, manufacture and sale of equipment, seeds and other inputs for agricultural production. But new knowledge has generally been disseminated without charge.

In the past, governments recognized that there is a public interest in having new agricultural technology widely available and used, and they considered such technology as a public good with benefits widely distributed and with many positive externalities. They have accordingly invested in the creation of new knowledge, methods and inputs for agriculture to make these freely available to agricultural producers. This was one of the premises of the ‘land grant’ philosophy and model for universities in the United States which have been publicly-funded and -supported.

With its many benefits for farmers, consumers and the environment, SRI has proceeded with a business model that is ‘out-of-step’ with the currently dominant framework for technological progress. While there are no charges for SRI knowledge, there are still costs associated with disseminating knowledge. Who will bear these costs? This is an even more difficult question if the persons who will put the knowledge to use are themselves poor, with little purchasing power.

Businesses by their nature want to invest in things that they can own and profit from. Most have seen SRI as not attractive to support unless they can get some profit for themselves, or like rice millers they can get a financial benefit from farmers’ use of SRI. Profitability is an essential condition for the continuation and prosperity of the private sector.

There has been considerable and constructive ‘buy-in’ for SRI from a number of persons in the private sector that has been important for the broader acceptance of SRI. Basically, the main beneficiaries from SRI knowledge are farmers, as well as consumers and the environment. This means that businesses will generally stand back and free-ride on others’ efforts. However, there can be altruism within the private sector, as seen in this chapter.


[1] N.I. Bhuiyan, the Director-General of BRRI, was a Cornell alumnus and a former student of mine. IRRI had recently posted Noel Magor in Dhaka as its country representative.

[2] A report of this meeting gives the names and affiliations of all the participants and summarizes their discussions.

[3] Choudhury characterized SRI as "a breakthrough in modern rice cultivation" (see report of meeting). When Syngenta first received information on SRI, he said, it had studied this and tried to implement SRI itself, finding that indeed the methods are suitable and beneficial. It decided that it would like to get the methods to the farmers' level in two years' time. The advantages that Syngenta reported were: Seed saving; Land saving (for seedbed); No additional inputs needed; Irrigation water saving; Optimization of land, labor and inputs; and Yield increase. In particular, Syngenta thought that SRI was the best technique available for seed production, which was a major part of Syngenta’s business in Bangladesh. “There is less cost and more yield, and labor costs get reduced as experience is gained,” Choudhury reported.

[4] Sadly, Saha Choudhury died in a road accident two years later, so we lost the leadership that he was giving on behalf of SRI in Bangladesh. His successor with Syngenta was not particularly interested in SRI, so the company dropped out of the country effort.

[5] The Indian Parliament, for example, passed a Corporate Social Responsibility Act in 2013 that required companies with annual profits of more than $1.5 million USD to expend 2% or more of their annual net profits on activities that promote the public good, either undertaking this work themselves or making grants to third parties to undertake or expand such activities. The Indonesian Government in 2007 enacted a Corporate Responsibility Act based on principles stated in its 1945 constitution. The act enjoined companies, particularly those involved in natural resource extraction or processing, to expend money for social purposes, considering these expenditures as non-taxable. How obligatory or voluntary such spending is remains ambiguous.

[6] ‘CSR: HCCB aiming big towards Green Revolution in India,’ July 27, 2020. The results reported were the same as reported throughout this book, including a price premium received by farmers because of higher grain quality including taste, flavor and food content. A farmer interviewed for the article said that his rice yield had almost doubled, and his income had quadrupled, because with a shorter crop cycle, he could now grow a second rice crop.

[7] Usha Martin posts its CSR policy on the internet. Over 50 years, the company has expanded operations to five continents with an annual turnover of $6 billion.

[8] My wife Marguerite and I saw this equipment on a visit to the KGVK center near Ranchi in 2012, described in our trip report, pages 2-3. The equipment is available from an associated not-for-profit business known as KGVK Agro Ltd.  One of the original partners in Usha Martin and a founder of KGVK, Brig K. Jhawar, explained during our visit how the company had both felt social responsibility and wanted to have friendly relations with the surrounding communities, which were among the poorest in India. The founders of Usha Martin did not want the company to be an island of affluence in a sea of poverty, Jhawar explained.

     In 2014, when some farmer groups in Cameroon were getting started with SRI but did not have any mechanical weeders, Jhawar agreed to ship some KGVK weeders to them to assist in the spread of SRI, understanding that these could then be fabricated locally once blacksmiths had a working model to copy. Unfortunately, during the Covid pandemic, KGVK’s operation producing SRI equipment was suspended.

[9] See this video on SRI posted by Ambuja on YouTube, and this article from the Ambuja Cement Foundation newsletter.

[10] Tata Steel has had a corporate social responsibility program in these two states since before there was any legislation requiring this of large firms, much like Usha Martin. See report on SRI activities in Odisha, ‘Tata Steel at Sukinda creating sustainable development opportunities for farmers,’ Orissa Diary, July 30, 2018; also a video on SRI promotion by Tata Steel at the village level. Also this website report in November 2020 on Tata Trust support for SRI in Jharkhand state.

[11] The presentation is available on SlideShare.

[12] See AgSri’s website.

[13] This concept of ‘social entrepreneurship’ is recent although such enterprises have existed in the past. David Bornstein and Susan Davis, Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford University Press, New York (2010); Muhammad Yunus, Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, Public Affairs, New York (2011). Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

[14] See BASIX website; Vijay Mahajan was the first director of the NGO PRADAN, which was a major contributor to SRI establishment in India. He has since been made the CEO of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in New Delhi.

[15] See report on this program posted on the SRI-Rice website.

[16] See the Pratithi website which elaborates on the company’s commitment to environmental protect and social equity.

[17] This was a YouTube posting.

[18] In S. Sato and N. Uphoff, ‘A review of on-farm evaluations of system of rice intensification methods in Eastern Indonesia,’ CAB Reviews, 2:54 (2007), the results of nine seasons of on-farm evaluation, with side-side comparisons (over 11,000 farmer experiences on over 9,000 hectares) showed average yield increase of 78%, with 40% less water and 50% less fertilizer.

[19] Sato also helped to establish the Indonesian Association for SRI (Ina-SRI) and then the Japan Association for SRI (J-SRI) in his home country, working with university and NGO colleagues in both countries.

[20] Garuda Airlines also engaged NOSC to give SRI training to its executive staff and employees who were nearing retirement age, with the hope that some of them would take up SRI after retirement. Theirs would probably not be large-scale commercial farming, but having persons of stature practicing and promoting SRI locally could have some spread effect wherever they retired (if not in Jakarta or some other large city). In 2004, Garuda Airlines had helped to fund the distribution of SRI training videos produced under an ADRA project in Indonesia (Chapter 24), paying for tens of thousands of CD disks to be duplicated and distributed.

[21] There was some concern about such support, but it was given with no strings, when Ina-SRI was without any funding to undertake such evaluations and demonstrations. The company was bought in 2005 by the international tobacco products company Philip Morris, but the company’s CSR policy was guided by Indonesian staff, who took an interest in SRI. 

[22] My visit to this SRI research station on Lombok in January 2008 is written up in a trip report, pages 4-5. Research there included comparisons of controlled irrigation vs. sprinkler provision of water done by a PhD student from the University of Tokyo using time-lapse photography to document plant growth responses. The next year, en route to the University of Brawijaya, Iswandi Anas took me to a Sampoerna-sponsored SRI training center, where farmers gave me the huge SRI rice plant pictured in Chapter 10, with 223 tillers grown from a single seed. In 201l, I attended the launching ceremony for a book on SRI (in Indonesian) at Sampoerna’s Entrepreneurship Training Center in Malang, East Java, after which I spent several hours with farmers in the nearby village of Sri Gunting where a Sampoerna program had trained 403 farmers, planting 12.75 ha of SRI rice. On this discussion, see pages 7-11 of my trip report.

[23] Here is the Facebook page for Pedaver.

[24] Asif Sharif, ‘Technical adaptations for mechanized SRI production to achieve water saving and increased profitability in Punjab, Pakistan,’ Paddy and Water Environment, 9: 111-119.

[25] See the section contributed by Asif on ‘Mechanized large-scale SCI,’ pp. 21-23, in ‘System of crop intensification for more productive, resource-conserving, climate-resilient, and sustainable agriculture: experience with diverse crops in varying agroecologies,’ International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 16: 1-28 (2017).

[26] In October 2014, when Pakistan’s Prime Minister heard a presentation that Asif made on his ‘paradoxical agriculture,’ and saw pictures of it such as included in Chapter 19, on two days’ notice, he took Asif with him on a state visit to China, to be able to show his Chinese hosts that Pakistan could be inventive in agricultural technology. Unfortunately, there was little interest in China or Pakistan in follow-up, so it was not until the Imran Khan government was installed that Asif’s political access rose.

[27] In 2017, Asif Sharif met with Jürgen Vögele, head of the World Bank’s department of agriculture and rural development, in Lahore and in Washington, DC, to discuss these ideas, and Vögele tried to get the Punjab state government to work Sharif’s ideas into a large project being planned, but there was no government receptivity.

[28] This is the Asif Sharik’s Facebook connection, and a video on PQNK.

[29] Y.C. Chang, N. Uphoff and E. Yamaji, ‘A conceptual framework for eco-friendly paddy farming in Taiwan, based on experimentation with System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methodology,’ Paddy and Water Development 14: 169-183.

[30] This is seen from the website of Caremed, which vows to be environmentally conscious in all facets of its business. There was possibly also some commercial interest that prompted Caremed to take an interest in promoting SRI given the growing demand for organic rice among consumers in Taiwan. Environmental conservation is a personal interest of Caremed’s chairman, Tony Liu.

[31] This is the website for the Society for Conservation Agriculture and SRI in Taiwan.

[32]  Wong’s environmental interests have attracted attention within his profession.

[33] Wong operates a hotel in Langkawi that has received awards for its ‘green’ operation.

[34] V. Vinod Goud, ‘SRI in Tanzania,’ SRI Newsletter, II:1, January-March (2010), pp. 25-27.

[35] Y. Nakano, Y. Tanaka and K. Otsuka, ‘To what extent do improved practices increase productivity of small-scale rice cultivation in a rainfed area? Evidence from Tanzania,’ National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo (2014).

[36] BBC News, ‘The challenge of boosting Tanzania’s rice production,’ Dec. 24 (2013).

[37] It is not clear that fertilizer is necessary for growing rice on Kilombero Valley’s reasonably fertile soils. It was assumed without evidence that yields could be raised by applying chemical fertilizer.

[38] Irresponsible Investment: Agrica’s Broken Development Model, The Oakland Institute, Oakland, CA (2015). This report gives details on the financial and legal problems that have arisen for farmers with KPL’s means for introducing SRI in the region.

[39] See previous reference and FAO case study in Adapting to Climate Change through Land and Water Management in Eastern Africa, pages 134-139, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome (2014).

[40] See this report on the KBL bankruptcy. A rice farmers’ association in the area was able to establish a value-chain project with African Development Bank and African Union financial support, improving irrigation facilities and providing storage and processing and processing facilities. Initial productivity with SRI methods and improved infrastructure raised yields from 10 bags per acre to 35-40 bags, and with all support in place, farmers and managers expect to reach 13.7-14.7 tonnes per hectare. ‘Njage farmers preparing to take rice commercialization to the next level,’ Future Agricultures, March 30 (2020).

[41] Equity Bank has 173 branches throughout Kenya and has social benefits as part of its mission.

[42] This is Lotus Foods’ mission statement on its website.

[43] A listing of some of the awards that Lotus Foods has received for its SRI work is given in endnote 5 of Chapter 17.

[44] This video can be viewed at

[45] Here is some background on Flooded Cellar Productions.

[46] This presentation is one of the most beautiful and instructive ever made on SRI.

[47] The four videos, produced in English, French and Malagasy languages, were on: Seed Germination and Nursery Preparation; Field Preparation and Transplanting; Weeding and Water Management; and Farmer Responses (with the title of ‘A New Stick Gives You Blisters.’ Links to these videos are given in an FAO posting on climate-smart crop production.

[48] The Nepal video posted on YouTube is 12:29 minutes long. Flooded Cellar produced both short and long versions of the Sierra Leone video, 3:51 and 13:11 minutes. SRI-Rice provided funding for the production costs of these videos, while Sue and Declan contributed their time and skills to these productions.

[49] The video on SRI project activities in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam was also prepared in two versions, 0:38 and 11:09.

[50] The web blog gives access to several videos made on women and SRI. A particularly poignant and instructive video tells about the situation of Phumani, an elderly widow in India.

[51] This was to be his second PhD degree as he had already earned a PhD previously from the University of London, having started his business career in investment banking and then having further careers in private-sector sports (Formula I racing) and in mining (Rio Tinto).

[52] Project Drawdown was established to assess all presently available means to curb the emissions of global-warming gases, selecting the 100 most effective for promoting to reach the goal of zero net emissions by 2050.

[53] The name for the Trust came from Adam’s previous career in automobile racing.

[54] McKinsey & Company gives its professionals paid leaves to work in public-service roles that broaden their perspectives and experience. SRI benefited from Christina Gradl’s assisting SRI market development after this initiative was publicized through the SEED Award.

[55] Although some may regard it as ‘greenwashing,’ Syngenta’s statement of what it considers its corporate responsibility to be is quite clear and strong.

[56] This Foundation is also based in Basel, Switzerland.

[57] In 2015, Mike Mack contributed a letter of endorsement to the dossier that Amir Kassim was assembling to support his nomination of me for the World Food Prize (Chapter 31).  This was probably the letter that most surprised the selection committee. In 2015, Monsanto made a bid to take over Syngenta, but that deal fell through, it being apparent that this was more an effort to reduce competition than to create a more productive enterprise. In 2017, Syngenta was acquired by the China National Chemical Corporation (ChinaChem) for $43 billion.

[58] This concept is associated with ‘social business’ as proposed by Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, Public Affairs, New York (2010).


PICTURE CREDITS:  Abuja Cement Foundation article; Tilda powerpoint; NOSC (Indonesia); Pedaver Co. Ltd. (Pakistan); IICA (Venezuela) (2); Flooded Cellar Productions; Mike Mack (Syngenta).

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