Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bihar farmers breaking records

From The Guardian article India's Rice Revolution:
" Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India's poorest state Bihar, had – using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides – grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare of land. ............That might have been the end of the story had Sumant's friend Nitish not smashed the world record for growing potatoes six months later. Shortly after Ravindra Kumar, a small farmer from a nearby Bihari village, broke the Indian record for growing wheat.....
Tests on the soil show it is particularly rich in silicon but the reason for the "super yields" is entirely down to a method of growing crops called System of Root Intensification (SRI). It has dramatically increased yields with wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, aubergine and many other crops and is being hailed as one of the most significant developments of the past 50 years for the world's 500 million small-scale farmers and the two billion people who depend on them."
The article also discusses the controversies surrounding SRI. From what I gathered from some sctivits in A.P. Bihar, the method works, labor intensive during the first years and particularly suitable for small farmers. It is being practiced in several Indian states.
Cornell site on SRI
A couple of earlier posts on SRI  SRI in Tiruchi and More on SRI. The second links to a post of Duncan Green about the slow adoptation of SRI
P.S. A follow up article in The Guardian

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