Biotech Updates

Wageningen Researchers to Study Spread of the Rice Intensification System

November 6, 2009

 Researchers at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands are embarking on a project to investigate the adoption, spread and potential benefits of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI is a methodology that proponents say increases the productivity of irrigated rice cultivation by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. It has actively been promoted for the last decade to farmers as a best management practice by some governments and NGOs. The system however is not without its critics.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-supported project will look at how SRI evolved over time in different agro-ecologies and examine the reasons underlying farmers' adoption, nonadoption or disadoption. The Wageningen team is part of a wider research network that includes researchers from Cornell University, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and various partners in Asia and Africa. The Wageningen team noted that most studies evaluating SRI have focused almost exclusively on its technical aspects and its economic effects on farmers' livelihoods. Their study will take into account social interactions and communication processes that take place between farmers and the various government institutions and NGOs that are involved in promoting SRI.

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