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1702 The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) - An eco-digital commons for knowledge sharing

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Author: Lucy Fisher
Title: The System of Rice Intensification (SRI): An eco-digital commons for knowledge sharing (poster)
Presented at: The 2nd Agriculture and Climate Change Conference
Venue: Melia Sitges, Sitges, Spain
Date: March 26-28, 2017

Published in: Technology
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1702 The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) - An eco-digital commons for knowledge sharing

  1. 1. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI): An Eco-Digital Commons for Knowledge Sharing Lucy Fisher, SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice) International Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University SRI NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND GLOBAL NETWORKS SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION GLOBAL RESEARCH NETWORK India (57%) Indonesia (24.54%) Philippines (11.04%) Latin America (4.91%) Nepal (1.23 %) The System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which originated in Madagascar in the 1980s, is an agro-ecological and knowledge-based methodology for increasing the productivity of rice by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients while reducing dependency on external inputs. As a climate-smart methodology that uses less water, seed, and agrochemicals, SRI also helps farmers adapt to as well as mitigate climate change. SRI EQUIPMENT INNOVATORS EXCHANGE (FACEOOK) SRI NATIONAL AND REGIONAL DISCUSSION GROUPS Over the last fifteen years, national SRI networks evolved in more twelve of the nearly 60 countries where SRI has countries, and regional networks began operating in Latin America and West Africa. The national SRI networks are free, voluntary, vertically- integrated entities that developed through farmers, practitioners, and in some cases academics, grouping together to exchange experiences. Some of the networks are sponsored by non-governmental organizations, while others are hosted by government agencies or academic institutions. While they wax and wane with time, they rarely disappear since most were not created by or tied to specific transient projects. By 2016, the two regional networks transformed into Facebook-only discussion groups without continuing institutional management. The Madagascar SRI network ceased operations when the group operating it disbanded, leaving all of the national SRI networks in Asia (see table below). While all of the networks are currently voluntary and have very limited operating funds, they remain committed to their missions of providing SRI information, advocacy and training to interested projects and farmers. Global online networks for SRI equipment developers (right) emerged in 2012 and the SRI Research Network (left) in 2016 after four years of planning. The two global networks, which are free to join, are sponsored by SRI-Rice at Cornell University. The recently redesigned SRI Research Network, which now includes a Zotero- based platform maintained by SRI-Rice at Cornell University, helps SRI researchers worldwide share results, access resources, find educational opportunities, and keep up on the latest SRI research findings and priorities. In addition to using the Zotero forum to find colleagues and vet research designs, members can use the searchable research database and of over 1,000 research items, including journal articles, theses, monographs, and book chapters. The ability for members to access full text research articles is especially valuable in the Global South where libraries may have limited holdings. Membership is free-of-charge. [www.zotero.org/groups/system_of_rice_intensification_sri_research_network]. DISCUSSION GROUP ACTORS AND CONNECTIONS The SRI Equipment Innovators’ Exchange is a Facebook-based forum for those who are involved in the design and adaption of equipment to share their ideas and get input on improving their weeders, transplanters, markers and other manual and motorized equipment used with System of Rice Intensification methods. Members of the SRI Equipment Innovators’ Exchange have joined together in side events at the SE Asia Regional SRI conference (2015) in Malaysia, met up at the Agritechnica (2016) in Germany and come together for a SRI Equipment Workshop (2014) in at the Asian Institute for technology in Thailand. THE SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION The network analysis shows the actual and potential importance of some members in sharing information within some of the national and regional SRI discussion communities as of 2014. While there is limited interaction between online SRI discussion communities (due largely to language differences and the local nature of much of the traffic), there is a good opportunity to share some experiences and resources that could be beneficial to all. Linking the primary players (large dots) in each network to share information and resources between networks could have a significant impact. GLOBAL Founded Based at Formal? Online? SRI Research Network 2016 Cornell University No Zotero/web SRI Equipment Forum 2012 Cornell University No Facebook NATIONAL Bangladesh 2006 NGO ? No Cambodia 2004 1) Govt. (MAFF) [on hold] 2) Farmer SRI network Yes No No No India(2) - National SRI Consortium 2007 Peoples Science Institute (NGO) No Google Group Indonesia (Ina-SRI) 2008 Institut Pertanian Bogor No Yahoo Group Japan (J-SRI) 2007 University of Tokyo Yes Website Malaysia (SRI-Mas) 2011 Univ. Kebangsaan Malaysia Yes Website/ facebook Nepal (SRI-Nepal) 2002/2015 Virtual No Facebook/twitt er Philippines 2002 NGO (Virtual) ? Yahoo Group Sri Lanka 2008/2015 Rajarata University Yes No Taiwan (CA-SRI) 2016 Business (Caremed, Inc.) Yes Website Vietnam (SRI-Viet) 2015 Thai Nguyen University (Collective of 10 NGOs ) Yes No SRI spread from Madagascar to nearly 60 countries throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas in less than 20 years. Over 10 million farmers are estimated to be benefiting from adopting and adapting SRI (http://sririce.org). SRI EQUIPMENT NETWORKING SRI is an eco-digital commons –an international network of thousands of farmers and other stakeholders practicing or supporting a form of “open-source agronomy” for rice cultivation. It has been cited as an example of how open-source collaborations, when applied to agricultural challenges, “can yield practical, ecologically benign answers that often do not occur to commercial vendors and state authorities – perhaps because SRI is a commons-based system that is not profit-driven or hierarchically governed.” SRI also provides a good example of agricultural crowdsourcing. [1] In addition to knowledge sharing between farmers and through NGOs and national and regional SRI networks, SRI-Rice at Cornell University provides farmers, practitioners, researchers and other SRI stakeholders with a global online platform (www.sririce.org) from which they can share project progress, extension material, equipment innovations, research, and other materials on an international scale. While SRI methods must be locally adapted, they are easily understood and produce yields 20% to 50% higher than conventional rice production. The combined changes in crop management result in plant phenotypes that not only give greater crop yield, but have more resilience to stresses. Impressively, this is achieved by using less seed, water and fewer (if any) chemical inputs. [2] SRI AS AN “ECO-DIGITAL COMMONS” 2nd Agriculture and Climate Change Conference – Meliá Sitges, Sitges, Spain – 26-28 March, 2017 P1.104 REFERENCES: [1] Bollier, David. 2016. New forms of network-based governance. News and Perspective on the Commons website. [2] Styger, E. and N. Uphoff. 2016. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Revisiting agronomy for a changing climate. Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice Brief [3] Uphoff, Norman, and Frank B. Dazzo. 2016. Making rice production more environmentally-friendly. Environments 3(2): 12.

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