About SRI-Growing more rice with less water

What is SRI?

SRI is a set of practices for growing paddy rice using less water, yet results in increased yields and grain quality. SRI has many other benefits, including reduced inputs, use of less seeds, lower production costs, uses less water, as well as environmental benefits like eradication of mosquito breeding in paddies and increase in net incomes from rice production.

SRI was Pioneered by JKUAT Professor

SRI was introduced in Kenya at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in August 2009, through the efforts of Prof. Bancy Mati of JKUAT. The initiative drew the support of partners who include; rice farmers, staff and students of JKUAT, researchers from the Mwea Irrigation and Agriculture Development (MIAD) – in particular, Dr. Raphael Wanjogu, staff from the National Irrigation Board (NIB)- particularly the General Manager of NIB, policy makers, and international partners such as the World Bank Institute and Cornell University of USA.


Institutional support for SRI

The piloting of SRI at farmer level in Mwea Irrigation Scheme was supported by The World Bank, from a then on-going project called Natural Resources Management (NRM). AICAD followed with seed funding supporting the first SRI research work, an MSC which confirmed that SRI indeed works in Mwea. From February 2010, JKUAT Innovation Fund has been supporting a programme on SRI research, training and extension work. From 2011, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) has funded the extension of SRI to Western Kenya, covering; Ahero, Bunyala, West Kano and South West Kano Schemes, including Mwea Irrigation Scheme itself.

Achievements made by the SRI project

Increased rice yields

The SRI project has been a great success. Farmers who adopted the method have seen their rice yields go up to 7 tons/ha for Basmati variety (which is low yielding ) and up to 12 tons/ha for BW variety (high yielding). Moreover, rice grown under SRI matures faster, has a harder grain which when milled, does not easily break. A bag of SRI paddy is heavier, weighing 10-20 kilos more than conventional paddy. Water management through SRI breaks the mosquito breeding cycle since larvae die within two days of drying the paddy field reducing the incidence of malaria. Occurrence of water-borne diseases such as Bilharzia is also reduced as well as parasites such as leeches.

Capacity Building and Outreach

There have been extensive training, awareness creation and outreach activities implemented to promote SRI. These have included Field Days, Open Days, Seminars, Practical Demonstrations, Video Conferences. Also SRI has been displayed at Agricultural Shows, adverts in the mass media broadcast and SMS messaging targeting SRI farmers. In addition, thousands of training manuals have been printed and distributed at all SRI training events. From these efforts, the adoption of SRI has grown, such that by the end of 2012, there were over 4,000 farmers practicing SRI, with over 3000 acres of paddy fields being under the SRI system. The project has also built the capacity of 1 PhD and 4 MSC students who conducted their research on SRI.  Further, over 20,000 persons from all over Kenya had been reached by the SRI message through various awareness creation forums implemented.


Publications from the SRI Project

Nyang’au, W.O. Mati,   B.M. Kulecho, K., Wanjogu R.K. and Kiplagat, L. 2013. Assessment of the adaptability of management practices to system for rice intensification in Kenya, using v 4.5 CERES Rice Model. In: Proceedings of 2013 Mechanical Engineering Conference on Sustainable research and Innovations African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) –JUJA. 24 -26 April 2013. Volume 5; p 379 -387.

Mati, B. M. 2012. Promoting the Adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) through Participatory Research and Outreach in Kenya. Paper Presented at NIB/MIAD and collaborators research workshop, Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, 30-31st May 2012.

Ndiiri, J.A., Mati, B.M., Home, P.G., Odongo, B. and Uphoff, N. 2012. Comparison of water savings of paddy rice under system of rice intensification (SRI) growing rice in Mwea, Kenya. Vol 04 / Issue 6. International Journal of Current Research and Review (IJCRR); 63-73.

Nyamai, M., Mati, B.M., Home P.G., Odongo, B., Wanjogu, R. and Thuranira E.G. 2012. Improving land and water productivity in basin rice cultivation in Kenya through System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Agric Eng Int: CIGR Journal, 2012, 14, 2, 1-9.

Omwenga, K.G., Mwangangi, J., Home, P.G. and Mati, B.M. 2012.  Assessment of the Impact of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on Mosquito Survival at Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme, Kenya. Environment and Natural Resources Research. (forthcoming)

Ndiiri, J.A., Mati, B.M., Home, P.G., Odongo, B. and Uphoff, N. 2012. Benefit-cost analysis of paddy rice under the System of Rice Intensification in Mwea, Kenya. (forth-coming)”.

Mati, B. M., Wanjogu, R., Odongo, B., and Home, P.G. 2011. Introduction of the System of Rice Intensification in Kenya: experiences from Mwea Irrigation Scheme. Paddy and Water EnvironmentVolume 9, Number 1, 145-154.

Mati, B. M. 2011. System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Growing more rice with less water. Practical Notes for SRI Farmers. JKUAT and NIB, Kenya.

Nyamai, M., Mati, B.M. and Gidamis, A. 2010. Mfumo wa Kilimo Shadidi cha Mpunga (MKiShaMpunga). Kielelezo cha mfumo wa kilimo shadidi cha mpunga kwa wakulima wa mpunga katika Afrika Mashariki. JKUAT & SRI Resource Center, Mwea, Kenya.


Photos, Brochures and Posters are attached.


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