When You See It, You Believe It
One of the most successful training outcomes reported by local partner SAHAS (Group of Helping Hands) Nepal comes from hands-on practice with the System of Rice Intensification. SRI is a paddy farming methodology aimed at increasing rice yields. It involves going against thousands of years of practice in rice farming, but is generally an easy sell once the farmers can see the astonishing results.
Seventy-seven participants from four different agricultural groups received the training in the summer of 2022. All the farmer groups contributed equal labor, from planting through harvest. They planted two equal-sized plots of about 1882 square feet each, one in the traditional method and the other using SRI.
One of the trainers, Rajendra, says, “When they heard what the training involved, they predicted all the seedlings would die using SRI.”
This proven technology involves cultivating rice using organic manure, starting with young seedlings planted singly rather than in clumps. Placing the seedlings farther apart in a square pattern in rows requires less water and fewer seedlings. It lowers input costs while producing much more rice. The traditional plot yielded 90 kg, the SRI 130 kg. When all costs and labor were totaled, the farmers agreed that SRI cost less and produced more, resulting in more profit.
Rajendra says, “At the beginning of the training, the farmers did not believe a lone rice seedling would be able to grow on its own. But they changed their minds after observing how the single plant turns into more than ten in one place.”
Now that they’ve seen the difference with their own eyes, they have requested the project team provide additional technical support to plant the seedlings through SRI method in next season. Akshay, a local farmer, says, “The improved harvest fully convinced us to apply this method. We will plant rice in bigger plots using SRI next year.”
Nepal Jahada Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner SAHAS (Group of Helping Hands) Nepal