12100-Experiences of the System of Rice Intensification in Sierra Leone
EXPERIENCES OF THE SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION IN SIERRA LEONE By Samuel Soki Harding Daniel Santigie Fornah Edward S.A. Kargbo
INTRODUCTION• Shifting cultivation is the usual practice of rice cultivation in the uplands of Sierra Leone.• A methodology for growing rice that can give increased production with no or little requirement for purchased inputs would be beneficial to our small farmers.
GOAL• To introduce the SRI production practices which the small holder farmers can adopt for increase rice productivity and farm income.
Activities• On-farm demonstrations of SRI practice• Conduct of on-station SRI trials
General Objective• To achieve increase productivity in rice through the use of less inputs and management of natural resources.
On-farm demonstrations of SRI practiceMethodology:• 8 out of 50 farming groups were selected• Farm size: 8 acres• Ecology: Inland valley swamp• Rice varieties: ROK 10, Wusui, Patae and Peipei.• land preparation: Power tiller.• Planting Method: Two plots (SRI management system and farmers’ practice) adjacent each other.SRI management system comprised 10-day old seedling, at 1 seedling per hill and spaced 25cm between and within rows :conventional or farmers’ practice comprised 30-day oldseedlings at 3-4 seedlings per hill and randomly spaced.
Results: Table 1. Yield and yield components of rice grown with SRI and farmers’ practice, Sierra Leone, 2001Yield components SRI Techniques Farmers’ % increase (N=8) Techniques (N=8) over farmer’ TechniquesNo of hills/m2 16 52No of tillers/ hill 38 9 76.3Panicles/hill 28 7 75.0Spikes/panicle 122 95 22.1Yields (t/ha) 5.3 2.5 52.8 These data are from the reports from eight groups, each having 20 members, so the number of farmerresults that are aggregated in these comparisons was 160.
ResultsTable 2. Rice yields (t/ha) in response to production techniques, Sierra Leone, 2001Combinations of production techniques Average grain yield (t/ha)Single seedling, 10 days old, 25 cm spacing 6.72Single seedling, 10 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.56Single seedling, 21 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.42Single seedling, 21 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.09Multiple seedlings, 10 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.35Multiple seedlings, 10 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.37Multiple seedlings, 21 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.39Multiple seedlings, 21 days old, farmers’ spacing 3.97
Table3:Increments achieved with combinations of SRI practices (SRI practices in boldface; yield and comparisons in t/ha) Practices Yield Comparison• Traditional practice MS 21 FS 3.97 0.00• One SRI practice SS 21 FS 4.09 +0.12 MS 10 FS 4.37 +0.40 MS 21 25 4.39 +0.42 Average 4.28 +0.31• Two SRI practices MS 10 25 4.35 +0.38 SS 21 25 4.42 +0.45 SS 10 FS 4.56 +0.59• Average 4.44 +0.47• All SRI practices SS 10 25 6.72 +2.75MS=multiple seedling/hill, SS= single seedling/hill, FS= farmers’ spacing,21 and 10 =21 or 10 days old seedlings, 25= 25cm x 25cm spacing
Table 4: Financial benefits Associated with Three production practices in Inland Valley Swamps (IVS) in the Southern and Eastern Sierra Leone (2008). Parameters Crop production Technologies SRI package Recommended Practice Farmers’ PracticeAverage Grain Yield (t/ha) 3246 2959 2348Average price of paddy (Le/kg) 1500 1500 1500Gross Benefit (Le/ha) 4,869,000 4,438,500 3,522,000Variable costs (Le/ha):Seed rice@ Le2000/kg 50,000 100,000 150,000Labour:1: Nursery preparation and uprooting 100,000 200,000 150,0002: Tillage (plow, puddle and level) 240,000 240,000 200,0003: Transplanting 60,000 120,000 100,0004: Weeding 150,000 100,000 100,0005: Harvesting 120,000 110,000 100,000Total Variable Cost (Le/ha) 720,000 870,000 800,000Net Benefit (Le) 4,149,000 3,568,500 2,722,000MRR: Change from FP 1347% 1209% -MRR: Change from RP 387% - -
ResultsThe marginal analysis shows a positive marginal rate of return(MRR) of 1347% for SRI practice and 1209% for therecommended practice, indicating that it would be profitablefor farmers to change from their current crop productionpractice to either of the two improved practices.
Observations by farmers• The average tillering capacity was higher in the SRI compared to low tillering in the farmers’ method• No significant difference was observed in the vegetative performance of the improved rice selection (ROK 10) and local rice varieties (Wusui, Patae and Peipei) under the SRI management.• Weed regrowth was higher in the SRI multiplication plots compared to the farmers’ practice.• Disease incidence in the SRI plots was minimal.
Farmers’ PerceptionMost of the farmers in the study areas have shown high interest in thistechnology and they believe that it can assist their farming in diverse ways, including• With the SRI there is almost a 69% reduction in number of seedlings per hill used to plant a given area.• Seed wastage will be minimized with the SRI compared to the farmers’ practice• The increase spacing between the hills creates good aeration in the plant environment• Higher grain yield from the SRI plots because of the observed high tillering of the rice plots.
Constraints and Way forwardFarmers who participated in the demonstrations have shown interest in thisinnovation, but are constrained and worried about the high weed infestation inthe SRI plots, therefore:• There is need to understand the timeliness and frequency of weeding with a view to identifying the critical weeding times for SRI.• There is need to also promote the local fabrication and use of mechanical hand weeders.
The farmers observed that many hands were needed to perform criticaloperations like transplanting and weeding, therefore.• Better training to help farmers perform these operations more quickly and easily will be important for SRIs spread.• There is need further, to investigate the economics of rice production with SRI so that farmers can know just how much benefit can be obtained from these practices.
The higher yields reported from the SRI plots were under the native fertility ofthe soil therefore:• A next step will be to work on improving soil fertility by adding nutrients from organic and/or inorganic sources.• Improved understanding is needed of the effects of organic and inorganic fertilizers on SRI yield since Farmers are eager to know whether or not there is difference with SRI results when fertilizer is added and when it is not. If yes, they would like to know what is the economic rate of application?• The need for Socio-economic studies on SRI technology adoption.
• There is a need to popularize SRI results to the Sierra Leonean farmers through the Research System and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.• It is essential that the SRI Methods are tested in the other IVS regions in Sierra Leone.• Funding support to Research and Extension Systems in Sierra Leone