SRI is the System of Rice Intensification. It’s a new approach to cultivating crops and it tries to understand the principles of nature and maximise the various energies that are present in the microbes, in the soil, in the water and in the air. – Ravi Chopra, People’s Science Institute, Uttarakhand, India
SRI practices are based on agronomic principles that harness optimum growing conditions for rice plants. These practices are very different from how most farmers have been growing rice for generations, and therefore require a shift in mindset; this can be the biggest obstacle to adoption. A key principle is ‘feeding the soil’ organically rather than ‘feeding plants’ chemically. The four main practices involve planting younger and single seedlings, at wider spacing in rows, in fields that are not continuously flooded, and promoting soil health. These steps are applied as best possible under farmers’ respective conditions. Farmers find that the more steps they implement the better the yield. They have also found that the health of both plants and soil are improved.