Regional technical workshop to be held in Kpalimé, Togo

Attendees have just been sent invitations, and final preparations are underway for a regional technical workshop to be held in Kpalimé, Togo, in early August.

Representatives from each of the WAAPP SRI project’s thirteen participating countries will be in attendance, allowing for an in-depth exchange about SRI adaptation across national borders. The workshop will be the first to focus solely on technical components of the project, and will give participants an opportunity to help shape the technical framework for the coming year. A new version of the project’s Technical Manual will be reviewed, and feedback from the workshop will be incorporated into the operational version which will be released here on the project website after the workshop.

Items on the agenda include: adaptation of SRI to different agroecosystems and rice production systems; mechanization; pedagogy and farmer outreach; conceptual understanding of SRI, etc. Check back with this site for more updates before, during and after the workshop!

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To see more about SRI in the host country, Togo, visit our country page.

New Togo page is now up on the SRI-Rice website

SRI-Rice, the technical partner for the WAAPP SRI project, has added a Togo page to their website, covering all aspects of SRI in Togo. In addition to Togo, the SRI-Rice website maintains pages on 55 other countries, detailing country SRI activities, and hosting photos, reports, articles, and more from each country.

The SRI-Rice Center, which is based at Cornell University in the United States, is a center for networking, resource and knowledge sharing, and project design, consultation and support for all aspects of SRI and the related System of Crop Intensification. The SRI-Rice website is a rich repository of information and resources, containing the most complete and authoritative collection of SRI materials on the internet! We welcome Togo to the site, and welcome you to learn visit and discover the resources that are available! For more information on Togo’s activities in the WAAPP SRI project, visit our Togo page on this site.

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SLARI and SRI in Sierra Leone take center stage with a feature story on the World Bank website

After their successful recent workshop, Sierra Leone’s SRI initiative has now been profiled on the World Bank’s website, bringing attention to Sierra Leone and SRI around the world. The story highlighted the positive initial impacts of the SRI project on yields and labor savings in Sierra Leone, and also discussed the reemergence of the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), which before being abandoned in the 11-year civil war had been a Center of Excellence for rice research in the region.

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Photo: The World Bank

For more information about SRI in Sierra Leone visit our country page.

Nigeria’s ‘The Nation’ Focuses on SRI and SCI for Food Security

In an article published today in Nigeria’s The Nation newspaper, author Daniel Essiet profiled SRI and the related System of Crop Intensification (SCI) as leading examples of agroecological production methods that can help Nigeria achieve greater food security. The article focuses on how agroecological farming methodologies have the power to increase production without many of the negative effects witnessed by adoption of conventional/industrial agricultural practices, drawing links between human livelihoods, food security, ecological health, biodiversity, and sociocultural preservation.

The article points to SRI and SCI as key examples of agroecological production methods, and ones that are currently working on the ground in Nigeria to improve rural livelihoods, environmental protection, and food security. The National Crop Research Institute (NCRI) is also profiled for its work in implementing these two strategies, with quotes from Dr. Emmanuel Abo, the director of NCRI’s Research Operations Department, saying that while SRI and SCI use has not yet been scaled-up across the country, several seasons of initial trials have shown great results.

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Dr. Abo is also now acting as the SRI Focal Point for Nigeria for the SRI West Africa project, where his role is to coordinate all project activities in the country, and monitor all non-project SRI activities as well.

In addition to NCRI, the article spoke as well about the involvement of the Green Sahel Agricultural and Rural Development Initiative (GSARDI), which after receiving training in SRI in Mali in 2010 from USAID’s Expanded-Agribusiness and Trade Promotion program (E-ATP), became a pioneer in introducing SRI to Nigeria. With further support from E-ATP, GSARDI held Nigeria’s first large SRI training in Jigawa State in July 2011. Muhammad Ahmed Adamu, the Executive Director of GSARDI, has been instrumental in advancing the promotion and adaptation of SRI in northern Nigeria, and is an official SRI Champion for the SRI West Africa project.

Another mention in the article was the World Bank’s CADP project, active in five states across the country, which has been promoting SRI in Kano as part of a broader value chain and infrastructure approach. According to the project’s Team Leader, Dr. Lucas Akapa, SRI has been responsible for raising average farmer yields from 2.7 to 3.6 t/ha.

For a PDF version of the article in The Nation, click here. More information about the System of Crop Intensification (SCI) can be found here.

For more on SRI in Nigeria visit our country page.

 

DEDRAS completes two SRI trainings in Northern Benin

After first training farmers across Northern Benin in May and June 2013, the local NGO DEDRAS (l’Organisation pour le Développement Durable, le Renforcement et l’Auto-promotion des Structures Communautaires) decided to push further with SRI throughout the region in 2014, and in early May 2014 conducted back-to-back three day SRI trainings.

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The first of these trainings—held May 6th-8th at the DEDRAS farm in Sirarou, just north of Parakou—was conceived as a follow-up to last year’s trainings, and included a one day field tour to answer questions and provide technical support to farmers who had tried out SRI the previous season. In all, 48 farmers received training, 21 of which had previously been trained, and 2 new trainers were trained in SRI. In the second training—held May 8th-10th at the DEDRAS compound in Djougou—23 farmers and 4 extension agents/trainers were trained.

The reports for both trainings, along with other project documents from Benin, are available here.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf attends SRI field day, endorsing SRI for national food security

President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was on hand to commemorate the Liberia’s first National SRI Field Day, kicking off a three-day harvest celebration of SRI-produced Nerica L-19 rice at the Community of Hope Agricultural Project’s (CHAP) farm located on the outskirts of Monrovia. Speaking to the crowd, President Johnson-Sirleaf, herself a farmer, stressed the importance of farmers to the nation’s food security, and praised both CHAP’s work and the SRI methodology.

CHAP’s President, Robert Bimba, was also on hand to lead the events, meet with the President, and guide the delegation on a tour of the site. Robert Bimba and CHAP have been instrumental in the introduction and spread of SRI in Liberia, having conducted the first national SRI training in December, with participants coming from every county in the country.

As the National Facilitator (NF) for SRI activities in Liberia under the WAAPP, Bimba has an important role to play in boosting the country’s rice production, and is setting the bar high for his peers in other countries. Even though Liberia was originally considered in the third–or least established–group of SRI practicing countries in the region, his work with CHAP is quickly changing this.

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During the field day, enthusiasm and support for CHAP’s work was abundant, coming not only from President Johnson-Sirleaf, but also from Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Liberia’s Agriculture Minister, Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Montserrado County District No. 4 Representative, and a representative of the WAAPP.

The President lauded CHAP for following through on its vision, saying “CHAP has been doing this year after year, so let’s commend them for that.” Similar praise came from Dr. Chenoweth, who said that while CHAP and their collaboration with the Ministry have been a notable success, but cautioned that more still needs to be done.

Local government officials, such as Representative Fahnbulleh, pledged their support for creating a favorable policy climate for innovative agriculture like the kind practiced—and taught—by CHAP.

According to a story published by Liberian news agency FrontPageAfrica:

“A representative of the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP) assured CHAP of its support in all endeavors, saying, ‘Our intervention in Grand Gedeh and River Gee is not the end. We will support you in the western region, the eastern region and all of our counties of intervention.’

“WAAPP said it has a responsibility to provide leadership in areas where people’s lives will be enhanced and improved and agriculture is the surest way to ensure the stability of the country in food production.”

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SRI-Rice conducts technical support visit to Liberia

As the official technical partner for the project, Cornell University’s SRI International Network and Resources Center (SRI-Rice), based in Ithaca, NY, USA, is responsible for conducting periodic support visits to countries throughout the project region. In late February and early March SRI-Rice Director of Programs Dr. Erika Styger traveled to Liberia to gain a better understanding of the state of SRI there, and give counsel to WAAPP and rice sector officials. Continue reading