The System of Rice Intensification’s role in hunger, climate change, and communities
This blog on the Food Tank website explains the basic principles of System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the implications of the methodology, and the role it can play in agriculture in the future through its broader application. SRI is best understood as a set of agronomic principles rather than as a typical kind of agricultural technology. The principles can be summarized as follows: 1) a favorable growing environment for plant roots; 2) optimally sparse plant populations rather than optimally dense; 3) sufficient water, but no excess; 4) well supplied soil with organic matter; and 5) active soil aeration for enhancing the soil’s fertility and functioning. Its principles, when put into practice, enable farmers to use their available resources more productively, getting higher-yielding, more robust crops just by changing some of their cultivation practices. The SRI principles reviewed above can be applied to many other crops beyond rice and are then defined as Systems of Crop Intensification (SCI). SCI encompasses a range of crops, adapting SRI ideas and methods quite broadly. The main variation derives from whether or not the particular crop is irrigated. The author states that SRI and SCI crops are generally better able to resist the stresses of drought, and other hazards accompanying climate change. Additionally, these methods can lower crop water requirements and reduce net emission of greenhouse gases.