12100-Experiences of the System of Rice Intensification in Sierra Leone
EXPERIENCES OF THE SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION
IN SIERRA LEONE
Samuel Soki Harding
Daniel Santigie Fornah
Edward S.A. Kargbo
• 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
• To introduce the SRI production practices
which the small holder farmers can adopt for
increase rice productivity and farm income.
• To achieve increase productivity in rice through the use of less
inputs and management of natural resources.
On-farm demonstrations of SRI practice
• 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 old
seedlings at 3-4 seedlings per hill and randomly spaced.
Table 1. Yield and yield components of rice grown with SRI and farmers’ practice,
Sierra Leone, 2001
Yield components SRI Techniques Farmers’ % increase
(N=8) Techniques (N=8) over farmer’
No of hills/m2 16 52
No of tillers/ hill 38 9 76.3
Panicles/hill 28 7 75.0
Spikes/panicle 122 95 22.1
Yields (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 farmer
results that are aggregated in these comparisons was 160.
Table 2. Rice yields (t/ha) in response to production techniques, Sierra Leone,
Combinations of production techniques Average grain yield (t/ha)
Single seedling, 10 days old, 25 cm spacing 6.72
Single seedling, 10 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.56
Single seedling, 21 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.42
Single seedling, 21 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.09
Multiple seedlings, 10 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.35
Multiple seedlings, 10 days old, farmers’ spacing 4.37
Multiple seedlings, 21 days old, 25 cm spacing 4.39
Multiple 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 +2.75
MS=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’ Practice
Average Grain Yield (t/ha) 3246 2959 2348
Average price of paddy (Le/kg) 1500 1500 1500
Gross Benefit (Le/ha) 4,869,000 4,438,500 3,522,000
Variable costs (Le/ha):
Seed rice@ Le2000/kg 50,000 100,000 150,000
1: Nursery preparation and uprooting 100,000 200,000 150,000
2: Tillage (plow, puddle and level) 240,000 240,000 200,000
3: Transplanting 60,000 120,000 100,000
4: Weeding 150,000 100,000 100,000
5: Harvesting 120,000 110,000 100,000
Total Variable Cost (Le/ha) 720,000 870,000 800,000
Net Benefit (Le) 4,149,000 3,568,500 2,722,000
MRR: Change from FP 1347% 1209% -
MRR: Change from RP 387% - -
The marginal analysis shows a positive marginal rate of return
(MRR) of 1347% for SRI practice and 1209% for the
recommended practice, indicating that it would be profitable
for farmers to change from their current crop production
practice 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.
Most of the farmers in the study areas have shown high interest in this
technology and they believe that it can assist their farming in diverse
• 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
• The increase spacing between the hills creates good aeration in the
• Higher grain yield from the SRI plots because of the observed high
tillering of the rice plots.
Constraints and Way forward
Farmers who participated in the demonstrations have shown interest in this
innovation, but are constrained and worried about the high weed infestation in
the 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
The farmers observed that many hands were needed to perform critical
operations like transplanting and weeding, therefore.
• Better training to help farmers perform these operations
more quickly and easily will be important for SRI's 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 of
the 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