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APPLICATION OF SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI) 
PRINCIPLES IN SUSTAINABLE RICE PRODUCTION IN BHUTAN 
Ngawang Chhogyel, Mahesh Ghimiray and Yadunath Bajgai 
Introduction 
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the most important food crop in Bhutan. Due 
to reliance on rice for food, the Bhutanese government has identified 
a number of interventions for sustainable production. One such 
intervention is to promote the system of rice intensification (SRI) 
modified for local conditions. The country’s production of just 78,730 
tons with productivity of about 3.2 t/ha (DoA, 2012) is below global 
average of 4.45 t/ha (FAOSTAT, 2013). SRI experiments conducted 
elsewhere have reported mixed results. However, the proponents of 
SRI claimed that the farmers are usually able to harvest yield of 7-8 t 
ha-1, and with proper management practices, yields can go beyond 15 
t ha-1 (Uphoff, 2007).Rice being the number one staple crop, it has 
become a huge challenge for the Department of Agriculture to 
enhance national rice self sufficiency (Chhogyel et al., 2014). 
Therefore, this experiment was conducted to demonstrate and 
promote variants of SRI principles in local production management 
system and to reaffirm the performance of this technique as a 
potential approach to yield maximization. 
+ 
+ 
Result and Discussion 
The 2010 to 2013 SRI experiment results showed that the average 
grain yield ranged between 4 -7 t ha-1 with about 22 numbers of 
effective tillers hill-1. Similarly, the result from the 2013 experiment 
which used 10 d and 15 d old seedlings gave an average grain yield of 
5 t ha-1 (Figure 1). 
Though the effects of seedling age on grain yield was not 
significantly different, the values of root-shoot ratio were 
significantly affected (Table 1). The younger seedlings exhibited 
higher values of root-shoot ratio (0.174 - 0.198). The numbers of 
productive tillers were also higher for younger seedlings. 
Increased tillering and higher root-shoot ratio indicated higher yield 
potential under minimum water and proper nutrient management. 
There was a gradual decrease in grain yield with increasing seedling 
ages. These findings corroborate with results obtained by Ginigaddara 
et al. (2011), Uphoff (2002) and Geethalakshmi et al. (2008). 
Rice under SRI condition avoids suffocation and degradation of plant 
roots which is the main reason for improved plant performance (Kar 
et al., 1974). Higher root shoot ratio under SRI condition is also 
attributed to improved soil aeration supporting growth and 
multiplication of soil organisms that provide multiple benefits to the 
plants (Randriamiharisoa et al., 2006). 
Figure 1. Grain yield among the three different seedling age 
groups 
Conclusion 
As proven by a number of experiments in the past, SRI could be 
one of the rice production technologies for the 21st century. SRI 
could fit well for a small country like Bhutan, which is 
characterized by small land holdings, and abundance of vegetation 
cover for organic matter supply. It is possible to raise the current 
yield ceiling of 3.2 t ha-1 by adopting some principles of SRI such 
as planting younger seedlings and integrated nutrient and water 
management. SRI principles offer opportunities to cope up with 
emerging climate change issues and enhance water use efficiency. 
It could help resource poor farmers who face water shortage 
coupled with loss of soil quality and increasing costs of fertilizers. 
Thus, increasing plants’ resilience to stresses such as drought with 
less penalty on grain yield 
References 
Chhogyel N, Dorji C and Bajgai Y. 2014. Reaping the bounty of rice twice a year: In Sonam Drupdrey: Fruits of 
Labour, an Annual RNR Magazine (4):27-28 
Department of Agriculture (DoA).2012. Agriculture Statistics. Extension and Information management. 
Departiment of Agriculture.MoAF, Thimphu Bhutan. 295p 
Food and Agriculture Organization statistics (FAOStat).2013. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United 
Nations. United Nations Development Program. http:///-faostat.fao.org/site/339/default.aspx. Accessed on July, 
2014. 
Uphoff N. 2007. Agro-ecological Alternatives: Capitalizing on existing genetic potentials. Journal of 
Development Studies 43: 218-236. 
Kar S, Varde SB, Subramanyam TK, Ghildyal BP. 1974. Nature and Growth pattern of rice root system under 
submerged and unsaturated conditions. Il Riso (Italy) 23:173-179 
Methodology 
Young Seedlings 
(10-15 d old) 
FYM (3 t ha-1) 
NPK (70:40:30) 
2 hand weeding+ 
herbicide 
Table 1. Plant response to different seedling ages 
Treatment 
Days to 
flowering 
No. of 
productive 
tillers hill-1 
mean R/S 
ratio* 
10 DAS 96a 14.67a 0.174 a 
15 DAS 87a 15.33a 0.198ab 
20 DAS 76a 14.67a 0.128c 
P < value 0.90 0.88 0.028 
4th International Rice Congress, October 27 – November 01, 2014, Bangkok, Thailand

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1430 - Application of SRI Principles in Sustainable Rice Production in Bhutan

  • 1. APPLICATION OF SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION (SRI) PRINCIPLES IN SUSTAINABLE RICE PRODUCTION IN BHUTAN Ngawang Chhogyel, Mahesh Ghimiray and Yadunath Bajgai Introduction Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the most important food crop in Bhutan. Due to reliance on rice for food, the Bhutanese government has identified a number of interventions for sustainable production. One such intervention is to promote the system of rice intensification (SRI) modified for local conditions. The country’s production of just 78,730 tons with productivity of about 3.2 t/ha (DoA, 2012) is below global average of 4.45 t/ha (FAOSTAT, 2013). SRI experiments conducted elsewhere have reported mixed results. However, the proponents of SRI claimed that the farmers are usually able to harvest yield of 7-8 t ha-1, and with proper management practices, yields can go beyond 15 t ha-1 (Uphoff, 2007).Rice being the number one staple crop, it has become a huge challenge for the Department of Agriculture to enhance national rice self sufficiency (Chhogyel et al., 2014). Therefore, this experiment was conducted to demonstrate and promote variants of SRI principles in local production management system and to reaffirm the performance of this technique as a potential approach to yield maximization. + + Result and Discussion The 2010 to 2013 SRI experiment results showed that the average grain yield ranged between 4 -7 t ha-1 with about 22 numbers of effective tillers hill-1. Similarly, the result from the 2013 experiment which used 10 d and 15 d old seedlings gave an average grain yield of 5 t ha-1 (Figure 1). Though the effects of seedling age on grain yield was not significantly different, the values of root-shoot ratio were significantly affected (Table 1). The younger seedlings exhibited higher values of root-shoot ratio (0.174 - 0.198). The numbers of productive tillers were also higher for younger seedlings. Increased tillering and higher root-shoot ratio indicated higher yield potential under minimum water and proper nutrient management. There was a gradual decrease in grain yield with increasing seedling ages. These findings corroborate with results obtained by Ginigaddara et al. (2011), Uphoff (2002) and Geethalakshmi et al. (2008). Rice under SRI condition avoids suffocation and degradation of plant roots which is the main reason for improved plant performance (Kar et al., 1974). Higher root shoot ratio under SRI condition is also attributed to improved soil aeration supporting growth and multiplication of soil organisms that provide multiple benefits to the plants (Randriamiharisoa et al., 2006). Figure 1. Grain yield among the three different seedling age groups Conclusion As proven by a number of experiments in the past, SRI could be one of the rice production technologies for the 21st century. SRI could fit well for a small country like Bhutan, which is characterized by small land holdings, and abundance of vegetation cover for organic matter supply. It is possible to raise the current yield ceiling of 3.2 t ha-1 by adopting some principles of SRI such as planting younger seedlings and integrated nutrient and water management. SRI principles offer opportunities to cope up with emerging climate change issues and enhance water use efficiency. It could help resource poor farmers who face water shortage coupled with loss of soil quality and increasing costs of fertilizers. Thus, increasing plants’ resilience to stresses such as drought with less penalty on grain yield References Chhogyel N, Dorji C and Bajgai Y. 2014. Reaping the bounty of rice twice a year: In Sonam Drupdrey: Fruits of Labour, an Annual RNR Magazine (4):27-28 Department of Agriculture (DoA).2012. Agriculture Statistics. Extension and Information management. Departiment of Agriculture.MoAF, Thimphu Bhutan. 295p Food and Agriculture Organization statistics (FAOStat).2013. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. United Nations Development Program. http:///-faostat.fao.org/site/339/default.aspx. Accessed on July, 2014. Uphoff N. 2007. Agro-ecological Alternatives: Capitalizing on existing genetic potentials. Journal of Development Studies 43: 218-236. Kar S, Varde SB, Subramanyam TK, Ghildyal BP. 1974. Nature and Growth pattern of rice root system under submerged and unsaturated conditions. Il Riso (Italy) 23:173-179 Methodology Young Seedlings (10-15 d old) FYM (3 t ha-1) NPK (70:40:30) 2 hand weeding+ herbicide Table 1. Plant response to different seedling ages Treatment Days to flowering No. of productive tillers hill-1 mean R/S ratio* 10 DAS 96a 14.67a 0.174 a 15 DAS 87a 15.33a 0.198ab 20 DAS 76a 14.67a 0.128c P < value 0.90 0.88 0.028 4th International Rice Congress, October 27 – November 01, 2014, Bangkok, Thailand