Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Workshop: Promotion of System Rice Intensification Paddy cultivation for Achieving Food Security

System of Rice Intensification ensures an average increase of 60 per cent in grain and 36 per cent in straw yields in a crop and also helps farmers save seeds, water and physical labour.

Dehradun, December 11

Jyotirmay Thapliyal, Tribune News Service

Peoples' Science Institute (PSI) held a state level workshop entitled Promotion System Rice Intensification Paddy cultivation for Achieving Food Security in Dehradun today.

Inaugurating the workshop, Uttarakhand chief secretary, Indu Kumar Pandey, said that the System Rice Intensification (SRI) technique can lead to better yield. He said the state government was committed towards efforts for coming high yield cropping system. He disclosed that the government has asked the Pantnagar University to identify equipments that would promote the agriculture in the fields of hilly areas.

The fast shrinking yield of indigenous Dehradun basmati rice, has put this exclusive rice variety of Dehradun into oblivion. SRI ensures an average increase of 60 percent in grain and 36 percent in straw yields in a crop and also helps farmers save seeds, water and physical labour.

In his keynote address, Prof Norman T. Uphoff, programme leader for sustainable rice systems, Cornell International Institute, New York, said that the introduction of System of Rice Intensification (SRI), technique has led to rising produce outputs. Prof. Norman T Uphoff further said, "The SRI has proved successful in increasing yield in indigenous rice varieties in South Asia and Dehradun basmati too can be benefited from this very popular technique being used in as many as 33 countries world over."

Referring to such experiments in neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Prof Norman said both the countries have extremely benefited from the technique and are producing minimum of two to three tonnes extra basmati per hectare in their respective countries.

He said the basmati grown in Punjab province of Pakistan has been extremely benefited from the SRI technique. He said even in San-Francisco as many as 35,000 outlets have come that are selling SRI technique grown rice from China, Bhutan and Bangladesh in high numbers.

While emphasising on enhancement of rice quality, Prof Norman who had been at forefront in Asia in the SRI promotion said there was little concern in India towards maintaining quality rice. He also disclosed that farmers in the state of Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh are taking the new technique in a big way.

Earlier welcoming the participants, director PSI, Ravi Chopra, said, the Achieving Food Security today was most formidable challenge before mankind. He disclosed that the PSI was organising seminars in Uttarakhand and Himachal to inform the farmers of the benefits linked to adoption of SRI technique.

The workshop discussed the results of 2008 paddy season in Dehradun. It also hold sessions to discuss strategies for scaling up SRI in which experts discussed future plans for extension of the technique across the states and evolve strategy for further promotion of SRI in the state. Delegates from Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Orissa were prominent participants at the workshop.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Strengthening the Learning Alliance - A Report

Click on the link below to download the full report - Strengthening the Learning Alliance - Scaling up options for SRI in Orissa by Dr. C. Shambu Prasad, Debasis Mohapatra, Piyush Mishra.

For comments and queries please drop a mail to: |

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SRI Learning Alliance Workshop Newsletter

Please follow the link below to download the consolidated newsletter of the workshop for both the days.

Monday, December 8, 2008

SRI Learning Alliance Day 1 Newsletter!

Day 1 of SRI Learning Alliance Workshop concluded last evening. To get a fair amount of an idea of what transpired, be sure to read our Day 1 Newsletter! -

Sunday, December 7, 2008

About the SRI Learning Alliance Workshop

The SRI Learning Alliance workshop creates a unique platform where farmers, civil society, government officials and research organizations come together to share their experiences. The first such learning alliance dialogue was held in June 2007.  A rather ambitious set of objectives were set. These included:
  • Building SRI innovation capacity in Orissa and thereby creating a new culture of innovation
  • Creating a learning platform for agriculture officials on SRI
  • Working on policy and institutional uptake – enabling policy framework, learning alliances
  • Establishing procedures for zonal workshops and SRI monitoring
  • Policy advocacy both within the state and at the central level.
At the time of the workshop our understanding of the theoretical literature on learning alliances was limited. But, like in SRI, we felt that we should let the practice inform the theory. Our (XIMB’s) association with the Institutional Learning And Change or ILAC initiative of the international agricultural centres headed by Bioversity International ( has been very helpful in better appreciating the theoretical ideas behind learning alliances. We have since used the phrase to refer to “a platform where a range of stakeholders come together with a common interest in innovation and the creation of new knowledge” (Lundy, 2005).

We feel that the concept is particularly useful for SRI in the Orissa context as SRI is a complex innovation that requires that actors learn together to unravel the principles and insights. SRI principles and practices have been spoken about in many cases leading to worked out package of practices. However, SRI as a system (the S in SRI) has not been sufficiently understood. And we envisage that more of such workshops across the country will bring about the much needed understanding.

This year we bring to you another set of dialgues, another set of questions, and we are thankful to our partners who have enabled us to conduct this workshop. Our partners include -The Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production (Government of Orissa) World Wildlife Fund for Nature, XIMB, Centre for World Solidarity and ILAC (Institutional Learning & Change)

Schedule of the Workshop

Please click on the link below to download the schedule for the workshop which will be held on the 8th & 9th of December, 2008.

District Level Symposium on SRI

A District Level Symposium on SRI was held at Pragati, Koraput on 5th of December, 2008. This also saw the inauguration of the booklet on State Agricultural Policy 2008. There were sessions where farmers from Hardoli Village shared their experiences on their tryst with SRI.

Around 25 farmers adopted SRI for the first time during Kharif 2008. This was introduced by Damayanti Nari Pragati Sangha Voluntary Organization. The SRI farmers are now reaping better economic benefit.

Dr. Norman Uphoff, among others visited the symposium. Some images from the same are shown below.

Prof. Norman Uphoff & Team

Here is a youtube link of a video which was shot during the symposium! -


To know more about SRI

India-based SRI Websites

  • The SRI-India website ( has basic SRI information relevant to India as well as information on the second national symposium on SRI which will be held October 3-5, 2007, at Agartala in Tripura, India.
  • SRI Method: An Alternative in Paddy Cultivation is a section of the Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN) website with substantial (primarily Indian) SRI resources, including practical information and a video.
  • SRI section / South Asia Network on Dams, Water and People
  • SRI-India is a Google Group created in October 2007 for those interested in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as it relates to food security. There are currently 135 members. The majority of the traffic on this electronic discussion group relates to SRI in India. To subscribe to this electronic discussion group, see instructions on the SRI-India Google Groups site( or send an e-mail to:

What is Learning Alliance?

Learning Alliance are series of connected stakeholder platforms, created at key institutional levels (typically national, intermediate and local/community) and designed to break down barriers to both horizontal and vertical information sharing. Each platform is intended to group together a range of partners with complementary capabilities in such areas as implementation, regulation, policy and legislation, research and learning and documentation and dissemination.

Learning Alliance approach has arisen from the sense of frustration over the evident failure of much relevant and effective innovation-technological or institutional-to move beyond the pilot stage. Following reasons like -

·         Innovation that takes place in an environment that does not reflect the realities of country or region concerned. It is not productive to ignore or circumvent in built barriers to progress in order to have a successful pilot.

·         Pilot projects that are implemented by large well equipped project teams working intensively with communities. It is not realistic to expect successful scaling up from such a base is similar resources and personnel with similar skills are ot available.

·         Innovation and knowledge creation is not consolidated and built into a structured system. In such cases dissemination happens towards the end of the process when it is too late for meaningful transfer.

·         Failure to create national or even local ownership of activities that can happen when project teams work in isolation.

Learning alliance approach is intended to overcome these problems by systematically addressing the issues surrounding going to scale as part of the same process as undertaken by the innovation. It aims to do this by-

·         Carrying out innovation and learning within an alliance of practitioners, research, policy makers and activists.

·         Making explicit where extra resources must be brought to bear for specific technical or institutional reasons, and anlysing how these extra resources can be found or created within the structures that will scale up the innovation.

·         Creating an environment in which it is possible to be honest and open about lessons learned-particularly failures.


Over the period of time while including the principle of LA in the developmental projects provided the number of lessons learned and highlighted several questions for the future. There are no technological or methodological silver bullets because the developmental process is highly complex and there is no single technological or methodological answer. Learning Alliance take both time and resources. The process of making a few stakeholders interested in concept, then inviting several other stakeholders to initiate the process and keeping the process going later on takes time and resources. It also needs an engine, champions to sell the idea, organise the initial meetings and keep the process going after these first steps are taken. Documentation, reporting and dissemination need a specific budget and time allocation throughout the process not at the end. It should be planned properly well in advance.

Reference - Learning Alliance approach for scaling up Innovative approaches in the Water and Sanitation sector by IRC ( International Water and Sanitation Centre) , June 2005