Report on the workshop on “Productivity enhancement through up-scaling SRI experience in Chhattisgarh”On May 25 2010 a one day workshop on ‘Productivity Enhancement through Up-scaling SRI Experience inChhattisgarh’ was organised by PRADAN and JSS in collaboration with Dept. of Agriculture (NFSM),Government of Chhattisgarh, IGKV, Raipur and SDTT, Mumbai.The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an innovative approach to paddy cultivation that has becomepopular in India (and the rest of the rice growing parts of the world) and holds out great promise for the muchneeded enhancement in grain production. SRI can ensure year-round food security for families withlandholdings of approximately one acre. In trials over the past decade, this package of practices has workedwell under rain-fed conditions, resulting in improved yields of 50% to 300%. SRI is a boon for small andmarginal farmers who have little to irrigation, and also provides a solution to distress migration throughenhanced productivity and year-round food security.SRI has been popularized in India over the last 6 years. Having shown immense results there is an ongoingeffort on the part of both researchers and practitioners to extend the fundamentals of this technology to othercrops as well. Thus technologies such as the System of Root Intensification of Wheat, Sugarcane IntensificationSystem (SIS) and SMI (Millets) have emerged.In May 2008, PRADAN initiated the SRI method of paddy cultivation in selected areas of Chhattisgarh throughits partner organisations with financial support from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT). It supported 11 NGOs in 7districts. These NGOs executed field trials of SRI covering 800 farmers with an area of 80 Ha. In these areaspaddy crop cultivated by SRI method have shown encouraging results and in the following year theprogramme could reach to 4000 famers in 9 districts of Chhattisgarh.The workshop had the borad objectives of • Sharing the experiences by practicing farmers and researchers from diverse background within and outside state would ensure better learning. • Knowledge and understanding of the participants on SRI will be enhanced • Effective partnership between civil society organisations and state agencies for effective promotion of SRI in the state • Up-scaling of promotional activities of SRI in the state.The workshop which was the first of this kind, succeeded in bringing together diverse stakeholders involved inpromoting SRI. It was a real challenge to bring appreciation among Government departments and University tosupport this endeavour. Presentations were made by the Farmers from 9 districts of Chhattisgarh, facilitatingagencies, scientists and senior government officials. A total of 225 participants were present at the workshop.Honourable agriculture minister, Mr. Chandrasekhar Sahu honoured the workshop as the chief guest and ChiefSecretary; Government of Chhattisgarh Mr.P.Joy Ommen was present as special guest to chair the concludingsession for the focus area and recommendation. The Vice Chancellor IGKV Dr.M.P.Pandey, DirectorAgriculture. Mr.P. Kridatt and NFSM director Mr. C.L.Jain chaired different sessions of the workshop. ProfessorRadha Mohan from Orissa, Biswanath Sinha from SDTT, Mumbai and Anil Verma from PRADAN, Bihar werepresent to share their SRI-promotion experiences in their respective states.Mr.P.Kridatt, Director Agriculture, Government of Chhattisgarh welcomed the participants and said that SRI isone of the potential yield enhancing methods. He said that this meeting would help learn from the experiences
of various stakeholders and help furthering SRI adoption. He emphasized that to ensure success in the longrun, the importance of availability and management of water would be crucial.Mr. C. L. Jain, Mission director, NFSM, Chhattisgarh, in his opening remarks shared the results of SRI promotionby the Department which showed higher yield potential. He focussed on the challenge to deal with theexpected decrease in the water availability and efficient nutrient management. At the same time he sharedabout the importance of sustainable way of agriculture.Professor Radha Mohan, Sambhav, Orissa opined that this is a unique meeting in several fronts where inGovernment officials, Agriculture department and University, scientists, farmers, extension departments, andcivil society organizations are sitting together and discussing matters related to SRI. He put his thoughts aboutthe dependency of farmers on Government at different level of production and marketing chain and how SRIcan be an escape way for having more and more inputs from fewer inputs. He emphasized that the conflicts ofwater are going to surpass all other conflicts and thus the water saving SRI-method will become more andmore relevant. He suggested the forum to consider the other state’s experience on applying the concepts ofSRI in other water intensive crops such as sugarcane and less intensive crops like millets.He also indicated thatas the resources with the NGOs are limited the Government needs to play an important role in expansion.The Vice Chancellor, IGKV Mr. Pandey who was the chair of the inaugural session shared in detail about thepotential of SRI and the principles on which the method is based. He appreciated the effort by PRADAN and JSSin organising such kind of workshop and shared his willingness to support the expansion of the SRI in the state.Mr. Biswanath Sinha from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust shared the trust’s initiative at the national as well as Statelevel. The trust in collaboration with partners could reach 65000 farmers in 2009-10 at national level under theprogramme to pilot SRI in 5 eastern states. The programme spent about 11 Crore in three years. He alsoshared that in the country an estimated coverage of 8 Lakh Ha had come under SRI rice cultivation(Government and CSO’s together). He also emphasized that Chhattisgarh Chhattisgarh being a leading paddygrowing State where majority of farmers are small land holders a, needs to take lead in this SRI promotionendeavor.Scientist Dr. N. Pandey from IGKV shared about their research experience on the effect of different variableslike days of transplantation, seed treatment, application of organic and chemical fertilizer and equipmentswhereas Dr. Deepak Sharma shared about the experimentation on SRI with hybrid seed in IGKV.Mr. Anil Verma from PRADAN, Bihar shared Experience of SRI in Bihar, particularly in Gaya. In the last financialyear more than 5000 marginal farmers adopted SRI covering 319 ha. The average yield was 5.8 MT/Hawhereas the highest yield achieved was of 14.1 MT/Ha.. SRI principles were practiced in wheat farming by1500 farmers covering 800 ha. Average yield of Wheat for these farmers were 4.5 t/ha and highest yieldachieved was 10.1 MT/Ha. He shared about how the programme has brought SRI as theme of practice not onlyfor paddy but for all crops and being treated as System of Root Intensification in the State and the proactiverole of Government machinery made it possible.Honorable Chief Minister, Mr. Chandrashekhar Sahu honored the workshop as chief guest during the Plenary.In his address he appreciated the effort in bringing different stakeholders in one forum. While sharing aboutthe national scenario and position of Chhattisgarh as one of the major rice producing state he shared that theproductivity needs to be increased to address the food security challenge. While appreciating the potential ofSRI method he put an emphasis on promoting local variety such as ‘Safri’ for better adoption among farmers.He also gave emphasis in bringing innovation in the water conservation along with change in the cultivationpractice.
In the session following the presentations, farmers were encouraged to share and discuss their experiences inSRI paddy cultivation with other Workshop participants. Around 15 men and women farmers shared theirchallenges and achievement in the SRI intervention.Basant Yadav from Sahbhagi Samaj Sewi Sanstha and Philip Ekka from Karma shared their experience onpromoting SRI on behalf of the 11 NGO partners in the SRI promotion programme in Chhattisgarh.Saroj Mahaptra, PRADAN presented about the achievement of the project supported by SDTT in Chhattisgarhin partnership with 11 NGOs. The project could reach 4000 farmers. Even in a drought year like 2009, the SRIfarmers average yields was 4.8 metric tons/ha. Highest yields achieved was up to 10 tons/ha.Valedictory session was chaired by the Chief Secretary, Government of Chattisgarh, Mr. P.Joy Ommen, IAS. Heappreciated the farmers’ willingness to adopt the new SRI method, and promised fuller cooperation fromGovernment for further promotion, by ensuring availability of support, especially tools need for practice andwater- conservation structures in farmers’ fields using various program funds and NREGA.Mr. Jacob Nellithanam gave the vote of thanks expressing happiness on the way the proceedings took placeand thanked each and every one for participating actively in the workshop by sharing their knowledge,experiences and doubts on SRI. He thanked the resource persons from other states to share their experienceand Organisers for their significant efforts to make the workshop fruitful.