Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Determinants of System of Root Intensification (Sri) Method, in Bihar State, India

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Determinants of System of Root Intensification (Sri) Method, in Bihar State, India

Article excerpt

Introduction

Being mainly an agrarian economy, largely dependent on the vagaries of monsoon, the policy support to the farmers are essential in Bihar State, in India. Policies devoted to agriculture development have supported in a considerable amount the improvement of agriculture in Bihar, during recent years. Still, there are huge unused potential in agriculture in Bihar, in terms of productivity and crop diversification. Data shows that the average yield of paddy and wheat is lower than its production potential. Even though the State is rich in terms of availability of soil and water resources, its average yield of paddy and wheat are only about 32% and 44 % of the potential yield.(The Asian average is 4.23 t ha-1, while the world is averaging 4.18 t ha-1) (Thiyagarajan, &Gujja, 2013). Considering improvement in agriculture productivity as priority, a series of schemes have been initiated by the government of Bihar, following first agriculture road map (a time bound policy document). The focuses of these schemes are improving agriculture productivity and farm income in Bihar. One such programme regarding productivity improvement in Bihar is SRI (system of root intensification), covering both aspects of technology and inputs.

The System of Root Intensification, is a climate-smart, agro ecological methodology for increasing the productivity of paddy and more recently other crops by changing the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients. SRI methodology is based on four main principles that interact with each other: (1) early, quick and healthy plant establishment, (2) reduced plant density, (3) improved soil conditions through enrichment with organic matter, (4) reduced and controlled water application. Based on these principles, farmers can adapt recommended SRI practices to respond to their agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions. Adoptions are often undertaken to accommodate changing weather patterns, soil conditions, labour availability, water control, access to organic inputs, and the decision whether to practice fully organic agriculture or not.

The principles of SRI, which are fundamental to achieving the expected benefits, are following:

(1) Very young seedlings should be used, to preserve the plant's inherent growth potential for rooting and tillering;

(2) Transplanting single seedling per hill should be done quickly, carefully, shallow and skilfully, in order to avoid any trauma to the roots, which are the key to plants' success;

(3) Reduce the plant population radically by spacing hills widely and squarely, so that both the roots and canopy have room to grow and can have greater access to nutrients, sunlight, etc.;

(4) Provide growing plants with sufficient water to meet the needs of roots, shoots and soil biota, but never in excess, so that the roots do not suffocate and degenerate;

(5) Active soil aeration improves paddy crop growth in order that both roots and beneficial aerobic soil organisms are in benefit;

(6) Augmenting organic matter in soils, as much as possible, improves performance of the paddy crop, by improving soil structure and functioning and supporting beneficial soil organisms.

Each of the six principles of SRI has an important bearing on the performance of the crop. Detail benefits of SRI method are discussed in Table 1 and Figure 1. The overall effect of adopting SRI practices is an increased grain yield, which can be obtained irrespective of the variety planted (Thiyagarajan, &Gujja 2013).

Studies show that SRI method uses 30-50% less water (Thiyagarajan et al., 2005; Mahenderkumar et al., 2010; Thakur et al., 2010; Zhao et al., 2010), 60-80% less seed (Kumar et al. 2010; Styger et al. 2011, WWF-ICRISAT, 2008.), 10-25% less use of labour (Anita, Chellappan, 2011; Thiyagarajan et al., 2005). It has been widely accepted that SRI is a cost saving method and net income increases is possible up to 80-165% (Thiyagarajan et al. …

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