Monday, May 18, 2009

System of Rice Intensification (SRI Origin)

The SRI methodology was synthesized in the early 1980s by Fr. Henri de Laulanié, S.J., who came to Madagascar from France in 1961 and spent the next (and last) 34 years of his life working with Malagasy farmers to improve their agricultural systems, and particularly their rice production, since rice is the staple food in Madagascar. Rice provides more than half the daily calories consumed in Madagascar, a sign of the cultural and historic significance of rice to Malagasies, but also an indication of their poverty.

Fr. de Laulanié established an agricultural school in Antsirabe in 1981 to help rural youths gain an education that was relevant to their vocations and family needs. Though SRI was "discovered" in 1983, benefiting from some serendipity, it took some years to gain confidence that these methods could consistently raise production so substantially. In 1990, Fr. de Laulanié together with a number of Malagasy colleagues established an indigenous non-governmental organization (NGO), Association Tefy Saina, to work with farmers, other NGOs, and agricultural professionals to improve production and livelihoods in Madagascar.

In 1994, Tefy Saina began working with the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) in Ithaca, NY, to help farmers living around Ranomafana National Park to find alternatives to their slash-and-burn agriculture. They would need to continue growing upland rice in this manner destructive to Madagascar's precious but endangered rain forest ecosystems if they could not significantly increase their yields from rice grown in the limited irrigated lowland area, about 2 tons/hectare. Farmers using SRI averaged over 8 tons/hectare during the first five years that these methods were introduced around Ranomafana. A French project for improving small-scale irrigation systems on the high plateau during this same time period also found that farmers using SRI methods averaged over 8 tons/hectare.

The name "Tefy Saina" means, in Malagasy, "to improve the mind," indicating that this organization is not concerned just with rice, but also with helping people to change and enrich their thinking. Before he died in June, 1995, Fr. de Laulanié published one article on SRI in the journal Tropicultura (13:1, 1993, Brussels). An English translation of a longer technical paper by Laulanié is available.

Since 1997, a number of other papers or articles have been written about SRI. While most interest came initially from NGO and university circles, evaluations are now coming also from national research programs and international research institutes
A biography of Fr. de Laulanié has been published in the international magazine of the Jesuit order.

Other Research papers, click here


  © Blogger template Spain by 2008

Back to TOP