Rice farmers in West Kano irrigation scheme have a reason to smile and thanks to the System of Rice Intensification which has made them reap more from their farming. Teresa Akinyi Ouno, a a farmer from West Kano says since she embraced the technology, her life has dramatically changed.
‘As a woman, SRI has lessened the work while increased the returns. Instead of 25kgs of seeds per acre now I only use – 5Kgs. The yields have also shot to 33 bags per hectare up from 27 previously,’ enumerates Akinyi.
Speaking during an exposure tour of SRI activities in Western Kenya on 13th May 2016, Prof. Bancy Mati – Director Water Research and Resource Center (WARREC),JKUAT and Coordinator of SRI projects urged farmers to increase SRI adoption as it offers many benefits. “SRI is as technology that uses less water but increases production across all rice varieties” said Prof. Mati. She thanked the farmers on their efforts in promoting SRI and asked them to make use of the SRI training manual and extension services available for further information. SRI can be deployed to bridge the gap between consumption and production patterns of the rice production in the country. She added that the innovation combines a number of agronomic practices to boost yields while cutting back on inputs and water.
‘The idea is to differently manage water, soil, nutrients and the rice plant to achieve higher yields. This allows us to grow more rice with available water and land,’ explains Prof. Mati.
Contrary to the water intensive continuous flooding method, under SRI, farmers can practice alternate wetting and drying; fostering air retention capacity of the soil.
The technology equally makes it possible to transplant 8-12 day old rice in square patterned lines instead of broadcast. This maximally exposes the plants to nutrients and sunlight, producing to stronger stalks and more tillers.
The function was attended by Mwea Irrigation scheme Manager Mr. Innocent Ariemba, Ag,. Officer in Charge MIAD, Director Research AICAD Dr. Benson Odongo, JKUAT Staff and farmers from Ahero, West Kano and South West Kano Irrigation scheme.