System of Rice Intensification Initiative

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) initiative involves transplanting young single seedlings wide apart instead of the conventional method of transplanting multiple mature seedlings close together. SRI does not depend on continuous flooding of rice fields; it only requires the fields to be wet.

Promoted by the Tata Trusts with a view to improve cropping patterns for enhanced yields, the SRI programme aims to improve soil health and fertility, and encourage use of less water, seeds and chemical inputs in rice cultivation.

The Trusts launched the first phase of SRI in 2008, targeting small and marginal farmers in select districts across several states. The project is being implemented with a consortium of NGOs and has resulted in significant increase in productivity and food security in the districts covered.

Field experiments conducted in many rice-growing regions of the country have indicated significant improvement in aspects such as root growth, yield, grain quality, water efficiency and nutrient uptake of the crops. It has helped farmers achieve higher net income.

The SRI programme has covered over 170,000 farmers in 3,500 villages, spread across 104 districts in Odisha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Manipur, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

SRI principles are now being used to increase the yield of other crops. Currently, the programme focuses on enhancing the nutritional security and income of 280,000 households across Odisha, Assam, Manipur, Chhattisgarh and Bihar through promotion of millets and pulses, and focusing on value chain intervention in high value paddy and millet. The programme also has a research component that focuses on identification and popularisation of the best practices in SRI.

Key achievements
  • Promoted seven revenue-generating self-sustainable agri-business centres to popularise mechanised farming among small and marginal farmers
  • Established 250 acres of seed villages for millet, aromatic paddy and millets to reduce dependency on external sources
  • Promoted 220 community research persons and 15 Farmer Producer Organisations to ensure sustainability of interventions
  • Established market linkages to market 1,598 quintals of aromatic paddy for a net income of Rs600,450
  • Marketed 1,288 quintals of ragi for a net income of Rs859,000
  • Standardised water management and weed management practices for efficient utilisation of scare resources to enable crop productivity
  • Developed a single row power weeder and roller marker, and modified a manual weeder for ease of intercultural operations
  • Hosted a national seminar in collaboration with IGKV, Raipur, focusing on rice production technologies to increase farmers’ incomes, involving 384 senior researchers from 18 states

Future plans

The SRI programme seeks to expand farm mechanisation through the establishment of three new agribusiness centres in Odisha; development of end-to-end value chain for pulses and millets through producer companies; and the promotion of the Pigeon Pea Seed Village Programme for seed production in 50 acres to ensure the availability of good quality seeds in a timely manner. The Trusts hope to cover 19,444 households and 12,548 acres under SRI millets, pulses, paddy and Systems for Crop Intensification (SCI).

Area of operation
  • Bihar
  • Odisha
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Assam
  • Tripura
  • Manipur
  • West Bengal
  • Jharkhand
  • Maharashtra
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand

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