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You are here: Home Resources Further reading New record in Bihar thanks to SRI

New record in Bihar thanks to SRI

Written by Nicola Piras
Darveshpura, a village in Nalanda district, Bihar, the third most populated state of India, located in the eastern part of the country, has been theatre of an incredible success.

A young farmer named Sumant Kumar set a new record in rice production beating the existing world record held by the so called “Father of Hybrid Rice”, the Chinese scientists Yuan Longping. This latter managed to produce 190 quintals of paddy in a hectare by means of a hybrid rice (DH2525), while Sumant achieved the extraordinary yield of 224 quintal paddy per hectare adopting “the system of rice intensification" (SRI).

Sumant’s result is of great significance. But what makes it noteworthy is not the record itself; or better, it is not merely that. There is more, it is the method that Sumant has employed to gain his bumper yield – SRI – which makes his record so relevant. Several times, on the pages of our magazine, SRI has been presented as a promising alternative to conventional ways of rice production. Yet, notwithstanding its potentialities, many within the formal agricultural establishment have often neglected, when not denied, its ability to be a convenient system of cultivation.

This approach was developed in Madagascar in 1983 by the French Jesuit Father Henri de Laulanié. It is the result of a series of empirical experiments in rice cultivation that de Laulanié started in the 1960s in order to help local farmers to deal with the scarcity of external input. As promoters like to define it, SRI is the system by which you can “produce more from less”. There are six basic elements that characterize and differentiate it from common practices:

  1. Seedlings are transplanted at a much younger age;
  2. single seedlings instead of clumps;
  3. wider spacing in square pattern;
  4. no floated but moist soil;
  5. rotary weeding;
  6. increased use of organic fertilizer.

The application of these elements promises numerous advantages like higher yield, reduced requirement of seeds and demand of water.

But why such a simple method, which is supposed to drastically reduce farmers' dependence from external inputs, at the same time allowing more gains, has found so many sceptics among farmers and institutions?

What we have to keep in mind is that SRI has not to be considered as a fixed set of rules but as a general method that farmers have to adapt – rather than adopt – to their local realities. This is why many of its supporters talk of SRI in terms of 'work in progress', as an approach that farmers have to tailor to their specific local conditions. Whether SRI will give positive results will depend in great part on how farmers (with the support of institutions that will provide adequate infrastructures) will be able to adapt it. As Norman Uphoff, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, noted in an interview for the World Bank Institute, one of the main constrains in shifting to SRI is mental: ideas about getting more production with less input, or getting more rice reducing plants density seems to many farmers counterintuitive and refrain them to trust SRI.

For rice farmers, practices such as flooding the ground are considered as mandatory and indispensable to get a rich harvest. Moreover, SRI demands to change production techniques which are rooted in millennia of rice cultivation history. A shift to SRI requires first of all a change in mentality, and changes in mentality are probably the most difficult to accomplish. Even though SRI is already gaining more and more consensus, advocates can now count on Sumant's record as a representative example to promote the potentialities of this new methodology.

Further reading:

- More from less, from less to more: Dissemination of a rice cultivation technique (M. Vermeulen, Farming Matters, December 2009)
- System of Rice intensification gains momentum (N. Uphoff and E. Fernandes, LEISA Magazine, October 2002)
- The system of rice intensification - agroecological opportunities for small farmers? (N. Uphoff, LEISA Magazine, December 2001)
- Revolution in rice intensification in Madagascar (J. Rabenandrasana, LEISA Magazine, December 1999)

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Madan Thangavelu
Madan Thangavelu says:
Jan 01, 2012 01:02 AM

Please do provide details of the rice variety / varieties used by the young farmers to achieve these world record yields,

I should be easy to now aim for breeding varieties over the next decade - with yield potentials tending towards the 30 tons and upwards!

Norman Uphoff
Norman Uphoff says:
Sep 06, 2013 02:07 AM

Dear Madan,
Your response to the report on a record yield with SRI methods suggests that you missed the point of the article, that these results are not based on a particular variety. When the same hybrid varieties that gave farmers in Darveshpura village yields of 19-22 t/ha were used in the same season on the same farms by the same farmers (same soils, same climate), their average yield was about 7 t/ha, one-third as much as with SRI crop and water management. The lesson from Darveshpura should be that we focus more on giving crops their optimal growing conditions, to get the most productive phenotypes from given genotypes. You should consider our website: http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu

Hari Prasad Rapuru
Hari Prasad Rapuru says:
Sep 10, 2012 04:41 PM

Hi,
i want to try the new rice bread DH2525 in my village. can you please provide the details of that bread and where i can get DH2525 rice bread for plantation.

please provide the details that is helpful for me.


Regards,
Hari Prasad Rapuru
Kaluvoy (p&m)
nellore (d)
Andhra Pradesh
pin: 524343

08904044220
harireddy.r66@gmail.com

bill
bill says:
Feb 17, 2013 05:23 PM

it is fake

Norman Uphoff
Norman Uphoff says:
Mar 14, 2013 02:39 PM

This claim that the Darveshpura yields were faked is made without any knowledge of the facts or circumstances. I would invite Bill or anyone else who has doubts about this report to contact me at ntu1@cornell.edu for details and information, or to read the article on this in AGRICULTURE TODAY (June 2012) written with DRD scientists and the NGO worker who knows most about the local situation. That article was cut in half by the editors so a lot of data were left out, but I can provide that upon request.

hari
hari says:
Mar 19, 2013 09:24 AM

i don't know which one should i believe about this achievement, Norman uphoff @ can you provide me complete data..

thanks
hari
harishkrist@gmail.com

anand
anand says:
Mar 15, 2013 04:56 PM

please provide which variety he used, how he planting, weather manual or by planting machine, if it is by manual then how he plant. if it is by machine which machine he used to plant in square.

Heru Hartanto (Madiun, Indonesia
Heru Hartanto (Madiun, Indonesia says:
Aug 09, 2013 08:14 PM

Fisrtly, I apreciate to SRI, Sumant Kumar and his friends

Our experiments showed that cultivation with no chemical fertilizer no chemical pestiside gave varied yield from 8 to 17 tons per hectar. Mostly from 10 - 12 tons per hectar.

Mr Uphoff, can I get your detail information about Mr Sumant Kumar did when he got the excelent yield? What kind of organic fertilizer? Did he use bacterial fertilizer or some other kinds?

Thank you

Heru Hartanto
bhheruhartanto@gmail.com

Anonymous says:
Feb 08, 2014 06:52 PM

excellent keep it up but be careful for foreign paddy use this is impact our natural paddy.

MUKUND
MUKUND says:
Mar 21, 2014 07:33 AM

IT's a matter of very proud for me and my villagers.. that sumant brought laurels to our contry..
may god bless u.. keep going. we r proud of u..

bhaskarmarada
bhaskarmarada says:
Jun 18, 2014 02:04 PM

Very good productivity. I want to try the new rice bread DH2525 in my village can you provide the details.

bhaskarmarada
bhaskarmarada says:
Jun 18, 2014 02:11 PM

Very good productivity.I want to try the new rice bread DH2525 in my village can you provide the details

Thank you
bhaskarmarada@gmail.com
9666609005
ha

Rahul Kumar
Rahul Kumar says:
Aug 23, 2014 03:46 PM

Dear Nikola

Sumant Kumar is on his way to bring SRI to Africa, and change the continent's face. Read the press release here: http://www.prlog.org/12362918.Please reconnect to him and get a full story.

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