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1608 - How farmers in Uttarakhand reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

This document discusses how smallholder farmers in Uttarakhand, India adapted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to better fit their local social and environmental conditions. The farmers made several adjustments to SRI practices, including transplanting seedlings earlier to ensure timely ripening, locating nurseries and plots closer to homes, and forming new labor groups for tasks. The farmers also integrated SRI with their existing rice farming methods in ways that sought complementarity between different approaches. As a result of these adaptations, SRI became incorporated into the complex, balanced rice system in a fluid way contingent on local agroecological factors.

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People’s Science Institute
Dehradun, India
How Smallholder Farmers in UttarakhandHow Smallholder Farmers in Uttarakhand
Reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI):Reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI):
Innovations from Sociotechnical Interactions inInnovations from Sociotechnical Interactions in
Fields and VillagesFields and Villages
Debashish SenDebashish Sen
Research Objective & Research QuestionsResearch Objective & Research Questions
To understand how SRI,
conceived as a set of
practices introduced from
outside the communities,
was incorporated into the
local rice farming system
1) How were SRI practices interpreted and adjusted to fit with the local
social and agro-ecological arrangements?
2) How did the new method influence existing rice farming practices in the
locality?
3) How were existing farmers’ work groups adjusted to accommodate the
new method?
Transplanting of
young seedlings
Transplanting
at wider spacing
Alternate wetting
and drying (AWD)
Enhancing soil
organic matter
Inter-cultivation
with weeder
SRISRI
PracticesPractices
Single seedling
per hill
Methodology: Conceptual Framework, Location and ToolsMethodology: Conceptual Framework, Location and Tools
Analytical Framework
• Socio-technical System
• Agriculture as Performance
• Task Group Culture
Ethnographic Approach
3 Villages in Tehri Garhwal
district of Uttarakhand, India
Rice Seasons : 2011 to 2013
• Rapid Rural Appraisal Exercises
• Participant Observations
• Field Measurements
• Focus Group Discussions
• Semi-Structured Interviews
India
Uttarakhand
Tehri Garhwal
Bhilangana Sub-basin, Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
Rice Farming in Western Himalayas : Main FeaturesRice Farming in Western Himalayas : Main Features
• Predominant kharif irrigated and un-
irrigated crop
• Grown simultaneously with mixed
crops in unirrigated fields
• Diverse methods (Sathi, Bijwad and
Saindha) utilizing hand tools
• Multiple long duration (120-165 days)
varieties, mostly local
• Limited availability of draft power
forces hiring/sharing of bullocks
• Rituals associated with transplanting
and harvesting of rice (Din Bar)
• Women’s collectives (Padiyals)
undertaking transplanting
SRI Demands New Performative SkillsSRI Demands New Performative Skills
Raised Bed Nurseries (RBNs)
Properly Marked Fields
Precise Transplanting of Seedlings
Water : Not Too Much nor Too Little
New Norms for Water ManagementNew Norms for Water Management
Source: Mean Daily Water Depth of 20 plots each under different rice cultivation methods, Village Phalenda, 2013
SRI plots
•Shallow flooding preferred over recommended AWD, especially in early
crop stage
•Liberal irrigation regime controlled weed growth & water beetles
•Facilitated distribution of labour between rice and rainfed crops
Irrigation Water Depths under Different Rice Cultivation Methods
Days after Transplanting
Bina
Saindha
SRI

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1608 - How farmers in Uttarakhand reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

  • 1. People’s Science Institute Dehradun, India How Smallholder Farmers in UttarakhandHow Smallholder Farmers in Uttarakhand Reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI):Reworked the System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Innovations from Sociotechnical Interactions inInnovations from Sociotechnical Interactions in Fields and VillagesFields and Villages Debashish SenDebashish Sen
  • 2. Research Objective & Research QuestionsResearch Objective & Research Questions To understand how SRI, conceived as a set of practices introduced from outside the communities, was incorporated into the local rice farming system 1) How were SRI practices interpreted and adjusted to fit with the local social and agro-ecological arrangements? 2) How did the new method influence existing rice farming practices in the locality? 3) How were existing farmers’ work groups adjusted to accommodate the new method? Transplanting of young seedlings Transplanting at wider spacing Alternate wetting and drying (AWD) Enhancing soil organic matter Inter-cultivation with weeder SRISRI PracticesPractices Single seedling per hill
  • 3. Methodology: Conceptual Framework, Location and ToolsMethodology: Conceptual Framework, Location and Tools Analytical Framework • Socio-technical System • Agriculture as Performance • Task Group Culture Ethnographic Approach 3 Villages in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, India Rice Seasons : 2011 to 2013 • Rapid Rural Appraisal Exercises • Participant Observations • Field Measurements • Focus Group Discussions • Semi-Structured Interviews India Uttarakhand Tehri Garhwal Bhilangana Sub-basin, Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
  • 4. Rice Farming in Western Himalayas : Main FeaturesRice Farming in Western Himalayas : Main Features • Predominant kharif irrigated and un- irrigated crop • Grown simultaneously with mixed crops in unirrigated fields • Diverse methods (Sathi, Bijwad and Saindha) utilizing hand tools • Multiple long duration (120-165 days) varieties, mostly local • Limited availability of draft power forces hiring/sharing of bullocks • Rituals associated with transplanting and harvesting of rice (Din Bar) • Women’s collectives (Padiyals) undertaking transplanting
  • 5. SRI Demands New Performative SkillsSRI Demands New Performative Skills Raised Bed Nurseries (RBNs) Properly Marked Fields Precise Transplanting of Seedlings Water : Not Too Much nor Too Little
  • 6. New Norms for Water ManagementNew Norms for Water Management Source: Mean Daily Water Depth of 20 plots each under different rice cultivation methods, Village Phalenda, 2013 SRI plots •Shallow flooding preferred over recommended AWD, especially in early crop stage •Liberal irrigation regime controlled weed growth & water beetles •Facilitated distribution of labour between rice and rainfed crops Irrigation Water Depths under Different Rice Cultivation Methods Days after Transplanting Bina Saindha SRI
  • 7. Drying and Marking as Additional TasksDrying and Marking as Additional Tasks  Introduces time gap between Land Preparation and Transplanting  Village Level Resource Persons (VLRPs) emerge as Key Specialists for Marking  Readjustments in Marking: Line and eye estimation adapted over seasons and across plots collectively Marking Patterns of SRI plots of 30 randomly selected farmers (10 from each study village)
  • 8. Reconfiguring Nursery Tasks & GroupsReconfiguring Nursery Tasks & Groups  Rescheduling Dates: Early seeding required for timely ripening  Relocating Sites: Most RBNs located nearer to plot owner’s house  Reforming Groups: Emergence of different nursery forms  Readjusting Tasks: Seed treatment optional, More densely seeded  RBNs and Flatbed Nurseries complement each other Nursery Type May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct 2 w 3 w 4 w 1 w 2 w 3 w 4 w 1-4 w 1-4 w 1 w 2 w 3 w 4 w 1 w 2 w Saindha/ Bina N T H Synchronized Transplanting RBN N T H Synchronized Harvesting RBN N T H W: Week, N: Nursery, T: Transplanting, H: Harvesting Synchronized Transplanting vs Synchronized Harvesting
  • 9. Reorganizing Transplanting Tasks & GroupsReorganizing Transplanting Tasks & Groups  Rescheduling Dates: Early establishment for timely ripening  Relocating Plots: Most SRI plots located in middle reach of canal  Reforming Groups: Emergence of larger and young aged groups  Readjusting Tasks: Mingling of existing and new practices  Redistributing Tasks: Elderly uproot while young transplant System of Rice Intensification: Transplanting Patterns (2011) Phalenda Dakhwangaon
  • 10. Predominant Forms of Transplanting under SRI influencePredominant Forms of Transplanting under SRI influence SRI opens up various options - Farm households make choices as per their bio-physical and socio-economic circumstances Rice Plots Under Different Methods
  • 11. Conclusions and ImplicationsConclusions and Implications • Entry of SRI necessitates rearrangements of a complex but very balanced rice farming system • Technical and social adaptations happen in situ, but also contingent on agro-ecological factors • Farmers try to seek complementarity and synergy between various rice farming methods • Fluidity among work groups leads to extension and diversification of the repertoire of methods • Task groups as potential units for agricultural research and extension Need to build upon farmers’ adaptive capacities to maximize exploitation of agro-ecological niches, minimize uncertainty in farm production and rationalize employment of available work force
  • 13. Steps in SRI – Pictorial RepresentationSteps in SRI – Pictorial Representation Field Marking Seed Selection and Treatment Raised Bed Nursery Preparation Removal of Young Seedling Regular Weeding Water Management SRI Field Harvesting Transplanting at Wide Spacing

Editor's Notes

  1. An inter-disciplinary approach which accommodates both natural and social aspects of ‘making’