Category Archives: Mechanization

Scene from the field: cono weeder distribution in Gao, Mali

Mechanization is an important bottleneck to address for rice farmers in West Africa, whether using SRI or conventional methods. As part of the regional WAAPP SRI program, local artisans in Gao, Mali, were hired to produce 100 cono weeders, which will greatly ease, speed up and enhance the adoption of SRI throughout the Gao area.

The pictures below are from SRI Champion Hamidou Guindo, who has been working with SRI since its early days in Mali. At center (below) is the Gao region’s Director of Agriculture, presenting a weeder to a local farmer in December 2014.

Photos by Hamidou Guindou



SRI West Africa Sends Delegation to Asia

A delegation from the SRI West Africa project of the WAAPP traveled to Asia at the end of October to partake in a series of workshops, field visits, and the 4th International Rice Congress (IRC 2014) – the largest worldwide gathering devoted solely to rice production.

Hosted every four years by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the focus of IRC 2014 was largely on scientific research, with talks and poster presentations from hundreds of delegates representing all parts of the rice producing world. While research and industry were most prominent throughout the congress, farmers organizations were present as well, including representatives of West Africa’s ROPPA. This iteration of the IRC was held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Regional Coordination Unit presented a poster on the WAAPP’s SRI project, and participants from the project included Gaoussou Traoré (Regional Coordinator, CNS-Riz), Minamba Bagayoko (CNZ-Riz), Erika Styger (SRI-Rice) and Devon Jenkins (SRI-Rice), . Two workshops were held in conjunction with the IRC: a pre-congress workshop on international collaboration to advance SRI (co-sponsored by Oxfam International and Cornell University’s SRI-Rice Center), and a post-congress workshop covering SRI mechanization around the world (co-sponsored by the Asia Institute of Technology and SRI-Rice). The mechanization workshop included a field visit to the Thai Weekend Farmers’ Network to see their innovative mechanization and transplanting approaches to SRI, including ‘dart’ transplanting.

Participating in various parts of the trip were Dr. Gaoussou Traoré, Dr. Erika Styger, Dr. Minamba Bagayoko, Ousmane Djiré, and Devon Jenkins. After the workshops some members of the West Africa SRI contingent visited SRI project sites in India while another visited project sites in Thailand.

Images from the two workshops and the IRC:


Participants in a breakout discussion during the pre-congress workshop.


Gaoussou Traoré, the project’s Regional Coordinator, enjoying a performance of traditional Thai dancers at the International Rice Congress.


Congress attendees coming by the SRI booth at IRC 2014.


A roller demonstration during a field visit to the Thai Weekend Farmer’s Network on the second day of the mechanization workshop.


Mechanization workshop participants trying out a labor saving innovation called ‘dart’ transplanting.

SRI farmers in India met during a visit by Dr. Erika Styger and Dr. Gaoussou Traoré.

SRI farmers in India met during a visit by Dr. Erika Styger and Dr. Gaoussou Traoré.

Training of Trainers and Technical Workshop wraps up in Kpalimé, Togo

From August 4th to August 10th project participants from around the region came to Kpalimé, Togo, for the first in-depth training of trainers and technical exchange.


Participants from the Gambia work on their national SRI map.

Split into two groups – one francophone, one anglophone – the workshop aimed to foster stronger regional connections, knowledge sharing, and to deepen technical capacity and knowledge in each country.

  • Field visits to see local SRI plots and a lowland rainfed management project promoted by AfricaRice
  • Identification of mechanization constraints and opportunities, and creation of a regional mechanization roadmap
  • Sharing of pedagogical best practices
  • Development of new communications tools
  • Establishment of a common technical knowledge and understanding of SRI principles across different agroecosystems and rice production systems
  • Preparation of national SRI maps, detailing project activities and proposed project target zones
  • Updating of annual country plans

More information on the workshop will be available in the report, which will be posted shortly on the Project Documents page.