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System of Rice Intensification (SRI):
Towards Improving Rice Production and Saving Water in Africa
By:
Prof. Bancy M. Mati
Jomo Kenyatta University of
Agriculture & Technology
Nairobi, Kenya
Key Note/Lead presentation at
ICSCI, ICAR-IIRR, Hyderabad, India
12 - 14th December 2022
Importance of rice to Africa
 Rice is grown in 40 African countries
 Over 35 million smallholder rice farmers are engaged in
rice production
 The continent doesn’t produce enough rice for
consumption
 Africa imports 32% of world rice, about 15 million
tons/year
 Demand for rice is growing at over 6% per year
 Rice consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is set to
overtake other staples (maize, cassava, sorghum and
other cereals)
 Need to improve the productivity of rice at farm levels
(there is potential to achieve 15 tons/ha of rice) Map source: https://news.africa-business.com/post/india-china-
poised-to-capture-the-market-for-rice-in-africa
But productivity of rice is low in Africa
❖ The average rice yields in Africa are low, about
0.49 to 4.43 t/ha, depending on management
❖ Rice production endures poor agronomic
practices with low inputs, pests & diseases
❖ Continuously flooded paddies which use too
much water (3,000-5,000 litres/kg of rice)
❖ Flooded paddies become habitats for water-
borne disease vectors,
❖ They pose health, ergonomic and environmental
constraints.
❖ Yet flooded paddies do not achieve optimum rice
productivity – calling for a change of practices
Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
SRI is a package of practices especially developed to improve the productivity of rice
grown in paddies
Some seven components distinguish SRI from conventional flooded paddy practice:
1. Transplant younger seedlings; i.e. at 10 to 14 days old, (rather than 3-4 weeks old)
2. Raising the seedlings in un-flooded nurseries, preferably with organic matter
3. Transplant seedlings in lines, at wider spacings (at least 20x20 cm);
4. Transplanting only one seedling per hill (not clumps of seedlings);
5. Alternate wetting and drying of the paddy field (do not continuously flood the soil) to
ensure aerating of the root zone,
6. Weed control preferably using a mechanical/ rotary weeder; and
7. Use of organic manures/ fertilization.
Conventional paddy vs SRI practice: Nursery and at transplanting
Conventional flooded nursery
Transplanting SRI young seedling
Transplanting conventional rice seedlings
SRI dry nursery, and 8-day old seedling
SRI
requires
less seed
Transplanting
only one
seedling
Conventional paddy vs SRI: Field agronomic management
Weeding SRI paddy with rotary weeder
Women manually weed a conventional flooded paddy
SRI wetting & drying paddy field
Conventional fully flooded paddy
SRI increases yields
Rice yields under SRI vs conventional practice in selected African countries
On average, SRI yields attains 7.1 t/ha, while conventional flooded paddies at 3.9 t/ha
0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0
Cameroon
Egypt
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Kenya
Madagascar
Mali
Morocco
Niger
Rwanda
Senegal
Tanzania
Togo
SRI (t/ha)
Conventional (t/ha)
Note: SRI has superior milling qualities in all the categories
This is because the SRI grown rice has a harder grain, thus less breakage during milling,
SRI-grown rice has better grain quality
Properties SRI Conventional
SRI
Advantage
Head rice (%) 90 81 +9
White rice (Kgs) 631 594 +37
Recovery (%) 63 59 +4
Broken (Kgs) 37 56 -19
Chicken feed (Kgs) 4.4 5.5 -1.1
Bran/dust (Kgs) 79 101 -22
Colour sorter (Kgs) 1.5 1.9 -0.4
Source: Mati et al, 2021: http://ojs.jkuat.ac.ke/index.php/JAGST/article/view/178/179
Water savings from SRI practice in selected African countries
Drying paddies for between 4 -12 days under SRI saves water by 27% - 42% and increases rice yields
SRI utilizes less seed: Examples from selected African countries
SRI required only 16 kg/ha as compared to conventional systems that used 73 t/ha of seed
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
SRI utilized less seed (%)
Mosquito larvae eliminated under SRI plots compared with flooded paddy
MOSQUITO DATA FOR SRI CONDITIONS
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
DRYING DAYS
%
EMERGENCE
% Emerged from depression
% emerged from observation dish
Source, Omwenga, 2014: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jwarp.2014.610084
Challenges faced with SRI Practice
• Farmers’ traditional mindset, skepticism
and thus, resistance
• A higher incidence of weeds occurs under
SRI
• Availability (lack) of rotary weeders &
equipment
• Lack of funding to maintain momentum of
SRI projects and trainings
• Shortage of SRI trained personnel/
extension workers
• Lack of a dedicated SRI value chain as a
premium brand to encourage adoption.
Why a Knowledge Sharing Portal for SRI in Africa
❖ The scientific basis for adoption of SRI has been proven in many
countries in Africa;
❖ The main gap is knowledge flows- upwards to reach policy makers,
laterally to reach many farmers and extension workers;
❖ Because… Africa is a continent fragmented by national boundaries,
languages, geographic zones and cultural barriers;
❖ Technological divides between scientists and farmers, hence missed
opportunities; and
❖ A continent-wide knowledge platform was formulated for bringing
together SRI fraternity in Africa.
Introducing the SRI-Africa Knowledge Sharing Portal
➢ SRI-Africa is a web-based information and knowledge sharing portal launched on
10th August 2018.
➢ The main objective is to build a vibrant Africa-wide Community of Practice giving SRI
visibility and convergence for action
➢ SRI-Africa puts together information, publications, happenings in the SRI nexus in
Africa drawn from activities by countries.
➢ The services provided include: information, knowledge depository and policy
advocacy for SRI in Africa, and the world
➢ This helps track the progress made by African countries in pushing forward with SRI,
as a sustainable way to grow more rice, while also saving water.
➢ Meanwhile, we continue to grow a comprehensive knowledge base supporting SRI
in Africa www.sri-africa.net
Countries which have adopted SRI in Africa
Some 25 countries are in the SRI-Africa database
SNo. Country SNo. Country
1. Madagascar – Origin of SRI 14. Mali
2. Benin 15. Morocco
3. Burkina Faso 16. Mozambique
4. Burundi 17. Niger
5. Cameroon 18. Nigeria
6. Cote d’Ivore 19. Rwanda
7. Democratic Republic of Congo 20. Senegal
8. Ethiopia 21. Sierra Leone
9. Egypt 22. Tanzania
10. Gambia 23 The Gambia
11. Guinea 24 Togo
12. Kenya 25 Zambia
13. Liberia
Countries listed in SRI-Africa website as at 10th December 2022
Lessons Learnt
 In Africa, recurring droughts affect nearly 80% of the potential 20 million hectares of
rainfed lowland rice.
 Since SRI saves water and results in increased yields, there is need to upscale the
practice.
 Overall, SRI is a better practice scientifically, because it promotes climate-smart,
water-saving practices.
 SRI can be practiced on nearly all sizes of farms and is especially beneficial to
smallholder rice farmers.
 The SRI-Africa collates data, information, publications and happenings on SRI and
shares freely on its website(https://sri-africa.net/ )
 SRI should be promoted as a sustainable crop intensification (SCI) practice.
For more information, visit:
https://sri-africa.net/
THANK YOU
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Cornell University’s SRI-RICE and all the countries sharing knowledge under SRI-Africa

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2204 -System of Rice Intensification - Improving Rice Production and Saving Water in Africa

  • 1. System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Towards Improving Rice Production and Saving Water in Africa By: Prof. Bancy M. Mati Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology Nairobi, Kenya Key Note/Lead presentation at ICSCI, ICAR-IIRR, Hyderabad, India 12 - 14th December 2022
  • 2. Importance of rice to Africa  Rice is grown in 40 African countries  Over 35 million smallholder rice farmers are engaged in rice production  The continent doesn’t produce enough rice for consumption  Africa imports 32% of world rice, about 15 million tons/year  Demand for rice is growing at over 6% per year  Rice consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is set to overtake other staples (maize, cassava, sorghum and other cereals)  Need to improve the productivity of rice at farm levels (there is potential to achieve 15 tons/ha of rice) Map source: https://news.africa-business.com/post/india-china- poised-to-capture-the-market-for-rice-in-africa
  • 3. But productivity of rice is low in Africa ❖ The average rice yields in Africa are low, about 0.49 to 4.43 t/ha, depending on management ❖ Rice production endures poor agronomic practices with low inputs, pests & diseases ❖ Continuously flooded paddies which use too much water (3,000-5,000 litres/kg of rice) ❖ Flooded paddies become habitats for water- borne disease vectors, ❖ They pose health, ergonomic and environmental constraints. ❖ Yet flooded paddies do not achieve optimum rice productivity – calling for a change of practices
  • 4. Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) SRI is a package of practices especially developed to improve the productivity of rice grown in paddies Some seven components distinguish SRI from conventional flooded paddy practice: 1. Transplant younger seedlings; i.e. at 10 to 14 days old, (rather than 3-4 weeks old) 2. Raising the seedlings in un-flooded nurseries, preferably with organic matter 3. Transplant seedlings in lines, at wider spacings (at least 20x20 cm); 4. Transplanting only one seedling per hill (not clumps of seedlings); 5. Alternate wetting and drying of the paddy field (do not continuously flood the soil) to ensure aerating of the root zone, 6. Weed control preferably using a mechanical/ rotary weeder; and 7. Use of organic manures/ fertilization.
  • 5. Conventional paddy vs SRI practice: Nursery and at transplanting Conventional flooded nursery Transplanting SRI young seedling Transplanting conventional rice seedlings SRI dry nursery, and 8-day old seedling SRI requires less seed Transplanting only one seedling
  • 6. Conventional paddy vs SRI: Field agronomic management Weeding SRI paddy with rotary weeder Women manually weed a conventional flooded paddy SRI wetting & drying paddy field Conventional fully flooded paddy
  • 7. SRI increases yields Rice yields under SRI vs conventional practice in selected African countries On average, SRI yields attains 7.1 t/ha, while conventional flooded paddies at 3.9 t/ha 0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 Cameroon Egypt Gambia Ghana Guinea Kenya Madagascar Mali Morocco Niger Rwanda Senegal Tanzania Togo SRI (t/ha) Conventional (t/ha)
  • 8. Note: SRI has superior milling qualities in all the categories This is because the SRI grown rice has a harder grain, thus less breakage during milling, SRI-grown rice has better grain quality Properties SRI Conventional SRI Advantage Head rice (%) 90 81 +9 White rice (Kgs) 631 594 +37 Recovery (%) 63 59 +4 Broken (Kgs) 37 56 -19 Chicken feed (Kgs) 4.4 5.5 -1.1 Bran/dust (Kgs) 79 101 -22 Colour sorter (Kgs) 1.5 1.9 -0.4 Source: Mati et al, 2021: http://ojs.jkuat.ac.ke/index.php/JAGST/article/view/178/179
  • 9. Water savings from SRI practice in selected African countries Drying paddies for between 4 -12 days under SRI saves water by 27% - 42% and increases rice yields
  • 10. SRI utilizes less seed: Examples from selected African countries SRI required only 16 kg/ha as compared to conventional systems that used 73 t/ha of seed 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 SRI utilized less seed (%)
  • 11. Mosquito larvae eliminated under SRI plots compared with flooded paddy MOSQUITO DATA FOR SRI CONDITIONS 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 DRYING DAYS % EMERGENCE % Emerged from depression % emerged from observation dish Source, Omwenga, 2014: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jwarp.2014.610084
  • 12. Challenges faced with SRI Practice • Farmers’ traditional mindset, skepticism and thus, resistance • A higher incidence of weeds occurs under SRI • Availability (lack) of rotary weeders & equipment • Lack of funding to maintain momentum of SRI projects and trainings • Shortage of SRI trained personnel/ extension workers • Lack of a dedicated SRI value chain as a premium brand to encourage adoption.
  • 13. Why a Knowledge Sharing Portal for SRI in Africa ❖ The scientific basis for adoption of SRI has been proven in many countries in Africa; ❖ The main gap is knowledge flows- upwards to reach policy makers, laterally to reach many farmers and extension workers; ❖ Because… Africa is a continent fragmented by national boundaries, languages, geographic zones and cultural barriers; ❖ Technological divides between scientists and farmers, hence missed opportunities; and ❖ A continent-wide knowledge platform was formulated for bringing together SRI fraternity in Africa.
  • 14. Introducing the SRI-Africa Knowledge Sharing Portal ➢ SRI-Africa is a web-based information and knowledge sharing portal launched on 10th August 2018. ➢ The main objective is to build a vibrant Africa-wide Community of Practice giving SRI visibility and convergence for action ➢ SRI-Africa puts together information, publications, happenings in the SRI nexus in Africa drawn from activities by countries. ➢ The services provided include: information, knowledge depository and policy advocacy for SRI in Africa, and the world ➢ This helps track the progress made by African countries in pushing forward with SRI, as a sustainable way to grow more rice, while also saving water. ➢ Meanwhile, we continue to grow a comprehensive knowledge base supporting SRI in Africa www.sri-africa.net
  • 15. Countries which have adopted SRI in Africa Some 25 countries are in the SRI-Africa database SNo. Country SNo. Country 1. Madagascar – Origin of SRI 14. Mali 2. Benin 15. Morocco 3. Burkina Faso 16. Mozambique 4. Burundi 17. Niger 5. Cameroon 18. Nigeria 6. Cote d’Ivore 19. Rwanda 7. Democratic Republic of Congo 20. Senegal 8. Ethiopia 21. Sierra Leone 9. Egypt 22. Tanzania 10. Gambia 23 The Gambia 11. Guinea 24 Togo 12. Kenya 25 Zambia 13. Liberia Countries listed in SRI-Africa website as at 10th December 2022
  • 16. Lessons Learnt  In Africa, recurring droughts affect nearly 80% of the potential 20 million hectares of rainfed lowland rice.  Since SRI saves water and results in increased yields, there is need to upscale the practice.  Overall, SRI is a better practice scientifically, because it promotes climate-smart, water-saving practices.  SRI can be practiced on nearly all sizes of farms and is especially beneficial to smallholder rice farmers.  The SRI-Africa collates data, information, publications and happenings on SRI and shares freely on its website(https://sri-africa.net/ )  SRI should be promoted as a sustainable crop intensification (SCI) practice.
  • 17. For more information, visit: https://sri-africa.net/ THANK YOU Acknowledgements: Thanks to Cornell University’s SRI-RICE and all the countries sharing knowledge under SRI-Africa