Farmers who have been cultivating rice for decades often greet the many new techniques proposed by SRI with scepticism. Therefore, farmers must first be convinced through demonstrations and training. Nevertheless, this has proven beyond doubt that SRI method is far more superior in spite of the fact that the methods have not been fully implemented.

Double the Rice Yield in Ulu Kiulu

THE NEED

Traditionally, rice farmers plant paddy for their household consumption. They practiced single cropping and start planting during the wet season with a long maturation period of more than 150 days. Their income ranges from RM 200 to RM 500 per month and varies depending on cropping seasons. The basics of traditional rice production are inefficient resulting in low productivity and high costs in terms of materials and labour.

OUR INVOLVEMENT

There was an opportunity to test out a new way of farming through SRI which promises to increase rice production. BEST Society jumped at the opportunity and initiated a pilot project on Sikong’s land, a villager from Kampung Dumpiring measuring less than one acre.

This meant that with the new SRI method of planting rice, the farmers would increase rice yield beyond self-sufficiency which can enable them to sell their surplus production in markets.

THE IMPACT

Farmers who have been cultivating rice for decades often greet the many new techniques proposed by SRI with scepticism. Therefore, farmers must first be convinced through demonstrations and training. Nevertheless, this has proven beyond doubt that SRI method is far more superior in spite of the fact that the methods have not been fully implemented.

Results from the first pilot project amounted up to 337kg estimated to be 20% more than the usual harvest. However, it is important to note that the result is inconclusive as the results obtained are only using approximately 60% standard of SRI methods. The basic yield from conventional rice practices range from 1 ton per acre (t/acre), such as in Kiulu, to 4 t/acre in prime rice producing areas. The projected yield of SRI has been recorded in many countries since 2000 of achieving 5-6 t/acre.

The success stories of many farmers abroad using SRI methods are producing surpluses beyond household needs. While most are selling the rice on their own without additional premiums into local markets, a growing number of NGOs, farmer cooperatives, and private companies are working with SRI producers to achieve a higher price, taking advantage of increasing consumer demand for food grown without chemicals. We sure hope by introducing this innovative method, similar effort can be replicated in other communities.

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