The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an agroecological approach to rice cultivation that seeks to create optimal conditions for healthy plant growth by minimizing inter-plant competition, transplanting widely spaced young single seedlings, and optimizing favourable soil conditions with organic amendments, increased soil aeration by weeding, and controlled water management. These practices enable rice plants to express their genetic potential more fully and improve plant growth with yields up to three times more than with conventional cultivation methods while increasing crop resilience under biotic and abiotic stresses.
Rice farmers in Indonesia have been adopting this powerful SRI approach since 2001 by managing their available resources differently, modifying their farming systems to restore that precious eco-balance so necessary for a sustainable human endeavour. The impacts of SRI method on the economics, environmental, and social perspectives were well-documented by SRI researchers and farmers in Indonesia.
The high productivity and crop resilience obtained by SRI farmers have shown the suitability of SRI methods for sustainable and profitable rice farming in Indonesia. SRI also reduces the reliance on external inputs, improves the productivity of land and water, increases the plant and soil microbiomes and insect diversity, which culminate in increased rice yield. The utilization of natural processes and potentials through SRI opens avenues for farmers to manage their production more adeptly and progressively and to sell their rice under shorter supply chains and cater to consumer demand for quality and traceability.
SRI methods have been validated in more than 60 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and full or partial use of these methods is benefiting probably more than 20 million farmers around the world.