The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is helping bring rural farmers closer to food self-sufficiency in over 50 countries with the help of organizations like the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF). It can potentially reduce water use, increase land productivity, and provide a buffer against the impacts of climate change while reducing reliance on artificial inputs, like pesticides and artificial fertilizer.

“We should not need to have food shortages in the world if we would make better use of our existing land, water, seed, labor, and capital resources,” says Norman Uphoff, Professor Emeritus of Government and International Agriculture at Cornell University and Senior Advisor, SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice).

“Meeting our food needs more adequately, more equitably, and more sustainably is not going to be possible with our current technologies and mindsets, given the growing constraints of climate change,” says Uphoff. “What we are learning about the contributions that beneficial microbes can make to crop and animal (as well as human) growth and health is itself an inspiration and impetus for multidisciplinary, collaborative work on agricultural and rural development.”

SRI is a crop management approach developed by Fr. Henri de Laulanié in Madagascar in 1983. The goal is to create nutrient-rich soil and provide individual plants with the space to grow, allowing them to develop a stronger root system. Adapting SRI practices can double yields while reducing costs by a quarter and saving up to 40 percent more water.

Read the full article about meeting rice demand more adequately by Brian Frederic at Food Tank.