What is SRI/SCI?

From the SRI-Rice Center

The System of Rice Intensification, known as SRI is a climate-smart, agroecological methodology for increasing the productivity of rice and more recently other crops by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients.

SRI Principles

SRI methodology is based on four main principles that interact with each other and link up with other good agricultural practices that deal with the management of the whole cropping system :

  • Early, quick and healthy plant establishment with transplanted rice seedling or directly seeded rice where possible
  • Reduced plant competition with low plant density
  • Maintaining mostly moist soil through reduced and controlled water application
  • Improved soil conditions through enrichment with organic matter, ideally by practicing no-till seeding and weeding and maintaining a a soil mulch cover through stubble and residue mulching and the use of cover crops

Based on these principles, farmers can adapt recommended SRI practices to respond to their agroecological and socioeconomic conditions. Adaptations are often undertaken to accommodate changing weather patterns, soil conditions, labor availability, water control, access to organic inputs, and the decision whether to practice fully organic agriculture or not.

In addition to irrigated rice, the SRI principles have been applied to rainfed rice and to other crops, such as wheat, sugarcane, teff, finger millet, pulses, showing increased productivity over current conventional planting practices. When SRI principles are applied to other crops, we refer to it as the System of Crop Intensification or SCI (see SCI section of the SRI-Rice Center website for details).

For more in depth information on how SRI is applied and why it works, see the information at the SRI-Rice Center: SRI Methodologies

See SRI in action!

To get a taste of the advantages from some of the farmers practicing SRI, watch this video from Flooded Cellar Productions, produced in collaboration with Cornell’s SRI-Rice Center and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)