The international quarterly magazine Farming Matters has come out with a special issue on SRI (SRI – Much More Than Rice, 29.1, March 2013), featuring wonderful people and projects promoting SRI worldwide and making a serious difference in the food security and food sovereignty of the communities where they are working.
The issue does an excellent job of exploring the theme “much more than rice.” As SRI-Rice’s Erika Styger writes in her article “SRI 2.0: How is SRI evolving and what are we learning?”,
Ecological approaches for sustainable agriculture intensification still offer much potential for development. With the accumulating evidence that the application of SRI core principles improves productivity not only for rice but also for other crops, the potentials for using the SRI methodology become broader and more relevant.
As longtime “champion” of SRI Norman Uphoff (former director of Cornell University’s CIIFAD) argues in an interview in this issue,
SRI is not a technology that can be put into a box. It is a set of ideas and experiences, a set of relationships and a set of values. This is often really hard to get across, especially to agronomists or to economists who want consider SRI as “only this” or “no more than that.” It should be kept in mind that the original objective of Tefy Saina in Madagascar was not just to grow more rice, but to help the rural people understand their situation and take the opportunity to improve it. While SRI was intended to help people produce more food, it was also expected to help them “liberate” themselves from unfounded beliefs or social pressures.
Check out this article on SRI in Peru, one Latin American country where SRI is making inroads.
“We are convinced that this is not a crazy idea at all – and are sure that more farmers will join us,” writes farmer Divar Moya Zavaleta, whose success since he started using SRI in his rice fields in 2008-9 is beginning to convince other local farmers of the benefits of SRI. This snapshot of one project in Latin America highlights the need for information, resource sharing, technical assistance, and funding to allow Latin American countries to reach their potential for sustainable rice production and to expand to other crops.
We were also happy to see a piece on Hamidou Guindo and his self-help association 3A-Sahel in Douentza, Mali. Earth Links provided financial support to SRI Global, who in turn funded Hamidou’s project (read Hamidou’s progress report here). Hamidou and 3A-Sahel will be receiving funding again for 2013, and are going to expand the project this growing season.
The whole issue is available online, so check it out!
Farming Matters is a publication of the wonderful international organization the AgriCultures Network, which “shares knowledge and provides information on small-scale family farming and agro-ecology.”
Visit their website at http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/