The symposium was organised to strengthen the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) movement in the state and to further and prepare an action plan to ensure real up-scaling of SRI so that small and marginal farmers are benefited.
REALISING THE fact that System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as an innovation has come at an opportune time and its importance in agriculture scenario in Orissa, the Centre for World Solidarity (CWS), a national-level organisation working in 5 states in the country is working to spread awareness of SRI.
CWS, which also has a branch office in Bhubaneswar, took up the challenge of scaling-up System of Rice Intensification (SRI) through its partner NGOs and more specifically partners working for livelihood enhancement of small and marginal tribal farmers operating in south-eastern parts of the state. In this connection, CWS organised the 2nd state-level SRI Symposium – ‘Jaiba Jibika’ - on 7th March 2011 at Jayadev Bhawan in order to facilitate and interface with various stakeholders and Department of Agriculture, Govt. of India.CWS is promoting SRI in 12 districts in the state since 2006, and has been able to cover more than 12,000 small and marginal farmers in more than 6000 acres of land during 2010 Kharif. The basic objective of this initiative is to enhance livelihood of small, marginal and tribal farmers in the state through adoption of SRI, which requires less investment but enhances yield. CWS is basically promoting SRI in organic way, which reduces cost and also safeguards the environment. The first government initiative to promote SRI was taken in the year 2007, when demonstrations on this new practice was incorporated in government schemes such as Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY) and Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) and National Food Security Mission (NFSM). Subsequently, the demonstrations and field experiments have been incorporated into all other schemes for rice development and SRI has now reached to all 30 districts of the state. Orissa is also fortunate to have research organizations such as Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) and Water Technology Centre for Eastern Region (WTCER), which is actively undertaking research on SRI. OUAT has also undertaken field trials on SRI and concluded that SRI gives higher yield and is suitable for small and marginal land holdings. Besides the above a large number of Non-Government Organisations (PRADAN, SVA, SAMBAV, IDE etc.), community based organisations and individual practitioners are promoting SRI in different parts of the state by actively involving farmers with a major objectives of enhancing the livelihoods of farmers. In such a scenario, where a large number of farmers have adopted SRI in almost all the districts in the state, it is time to bring together all actors for exchange of dialogue and sharing among each other in the form of a state-level symposium on SRI, and preparing future courses of action for further popularising and strengthening this system of farming practice. Moreover, there are numerous success stories regarding adoption of SRI by farmers across the state. But these have not been documented properly and shared in larger forums. Additionally, what has been widely observed is that the whole process, quite often, the primary stakeholders, the farmers, do not find adequate space for showcasing their achievements and failures. As a result, the spread of message regarding benefits of adopting SRI from farmer to farmer rarely happens due to which real upscaling at ground level is occurring at a slow pace.