INTERNATIONAL SRI RESEARCH SEMINAR ON RECENT Changes in Rice Production and Rural Livelihoods: New Insights on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as a Socio-Technical Movement in India

Wageningen University

national consortium on sri (ncs)















  • Shifting intensification: findings from socio-technical research on SRI in India

Harro Maat

Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

  • Understanding dynamics of labour in System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Insights from grassroots experiences in Odisha, India

Sabarmatee Tiki,

Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands

  • User Adaptations in Rice Farms of Uttarakhand: Landscape and Farm Level Interactions

Debashish Sen

Peoples Science Institute (PSI)

  • Groundwater Irrigated Rice: A Techno-Economic exploration of the possibilities of producing "More Rice with Less Water"

A. Ravindra and Rob Schipper

WASSAN and Wageningen University

  • Evaluating Water Use, Water Savings and Water Use Efficiency in Irrigated Rice Production with SRI vs Standard Management

Pratyaya Jagannath, Hemant Pullabhotla, and Norman Uphoff

  • Revising agronomic and socio-economic paradigms for crop improvement: Findings from SRI research globally

Norman Uphoff,

SRI-Rice, Cornell University, USA

  • Comparative performance of System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) and other methods of wheat cultivation in north western plain zone of India

Shiva Dhar, A K Vyas and B C Barah

IARI, New Delhi

  • Interpreting Changes in Soil Quality and Root Health in the System of Rice Intensification

Janice Thies

Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, USA

  • Developing location-specific management practices for agricultural resource conservation and for ‘climate proofing’ of rice cultivation using SRI

Abha Mishra

Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand

  • Integrated System of Rice Intensification (ISRI) for enhancing Crop and Water Productivity udner Changing Climate

Amod Kumar Thakur; Rajeeb Kumar Mohanty; Ashwani Kumar,

Directorate of Water Management (ICAR)

  • The System of Rice Intensification in India: Results of  surveys in 62 villages in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand

Robert Schipper, Sabarmatee, Debashish Sen, Ravindra A., Ezra Berkhout

Wageningen University

  • SRI Cultivation in Andhra Pradesh: Positive Evidence on Yield and GHGs Effects but Problems of Adoption

D. Narasimha Reddy & M. Venkatanarayana

National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad

  • SRI: An Analysis of Adoption Levels Across 13 States, India

Dr. K.R. Karunakaran,

Professor (Agricultural Economics), TNAU

  • Patterns of the System of Rice Intensification in India: Results from RRA village studies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarkhand (Abstract Awaited)

Rob Schipper, Ezra Berkhout, Sabarmatee, Debashish Sen, A. Ravindra

  • System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Household Food Security : An analysis of dynamics of adoption and disadoption process of SRI in Rainfed areas in eastern India

B.C. Barah, NABARD Chair Professor,

Narendranath, PRADAN,

Shipra Singh and Amit Kumar

  • Modern intensified agriculture: a product of public-private collaboration - Some insights based on the “System of Rice Intensification”

Willem A. Stoop

Wageningen University

  • System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Evaluation for its Potential to enhance the productivity of rice (Oryazea sativa L.) and its impact in different agro-ecological situations in India

R Mahender Kumar, K. Surekha , Ch Padmavathi , B.Sreedevi , B.Gangaiah, N. Somashekar , M.S.Prasad, V.Ravindra Babu, P. Raghuveer Rao, P.C. Latha,L.V. Subba Rao, B.Sailaja , Sudhakara. T.M. Santhappa. D, P.Muthuraman, Shaik. N.Meera, B. Nirmala and B.C. Viraktamath

Directorate of Rice Research (DRR)

  • Comparative performance of rice varieties grown under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and traditional puddlled transplanted at the experimental station

Shiva Dhar, Principal Scientist, Division of Agronomy, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, B C Barah, NABARD Chair Professor, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and A K Vyas, Assistant Director General (HR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research


  • The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India: historical Antecedents and future perspectives (Abstracted awaited)

Dominic Glover 

Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RE, United Kingdom

  • Uprooting rice science to building a research community: Research policy challenges and prospects of SRI in India

C. Shambu Prasad,

XIMB, Bhubaneswar

Shifting intensification: Findings from Socio-technical research on SRI in India
Harro Maat, Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands

The paper presents results of the four-year research programme investigating the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India as a socio-technical movement. Social movements are commonly defined as collectives or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues in order to instigate, resist or undo social change. The social issue the SRI movement addresses fits the overall development agenda to resist and undo growing social-economic inequalities, in particular inequalities between farmers in the rural areas of India. Calling SRI a socio-technical movement highlights the role of material factors in social change. This also implies that a focus on socio-technical collectives and organisations, rather than the opportunity for the individual farmer to grow more rice with less external inputs. The introduction of SRI caused a rearrangement of rice farming as a socio-technical practice through a reconfiguration of task groups, inputs, seasonal calendars and cultural institutions. These rearrangements go beyond the fields where SRI is practiced and have an impact on the entire farming community, the various ways in which rice is cultivated, cropping patterns, additional agricultural activities and off-farm income sources. The socio-technical movement character further expresses in the challenges SRI poses to wider institutional arrangements, for example irrigation system management, agricultural research or markets for inputs and agricultural commodities. These changes lead to various patterns of intensification, the major ones being labour intensification to rice, input intensification to rice and distributed labour intensification. It is concluded that in order to reach its goals in undoing social-economic inequalities, SRI as a socio-technical movement requires further flexibility and experimentation to serve the various patterns of intensification.

Understanding dynamics of labour in System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Insights from grassroots experiences in Odisha, India
Ms. Sabarmatee Tiki,  PhD student, Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Rice culture and agriculture is a function of coordinated efforts of men and women, having diverse relations where their division of work depends largely upon embedded social prescriptions, terrain characteristics and technological options. When a technology changes, it is likely that the technology impacts end-users, that is men and women labourers, in turn, they also impact the technology. Around 2000, a new agro-production technology called System of Rice Intensification (SRI) that evolved in Madagascar entered into the rice landscapes in India. SRI prescribes major modifications in practices like transplantation, weeding and water management for yield enhancement which require a new set of skills that challenge the age old rice-growing methods leading to different gender ramifications. In this situation labour plays a crucial role in implementation of SRI which is diverse, heterogeneous and complex in nature.

In the initial stage after introduction of SRI, like many other production strategies, focus centred on yield and adoption. Until now, scholarly articulation on SRI focuses mostly on biophysical aspects of rice-growing and socio-economic aspects of cost and adoption dynamics where issues like labour-technology interactions from gender perspectives is inadequately addressed. Wherever it is addressed, labour is mostly treated like economic unit instead of social entity. This paper attempts to understand the interaction between labour and technology from a gender perspective taking the weeding and skilling as examples. It elucidates the gendered dimensions of weeding and weeder use, and the process of skilling, in the new equilibrium.

Multiple parallel case study design is adopted for the overall study. Three villages were selected purposively in Odisha in India having diverse agro-ecology, ethnicity, labour and wage systems, rice-growing practices, extension architecture and SRI history. General observations of rice-growing practices were done in 2011-12 and 20 households from each village were selected randomly (from SRI farmers list of 2011) for intensive observation in 2012 who cultivated rice in 545 plots during Kharif (June-December) season. A combination of tools like Focus Group Discussion, individual interviews, story-telling, field-level observations including taking weights and measurements of materials and spacing, photography and Rapid Comparative Pain Assessment method were used for data collection which informed various aspects of labour.

Varied weeding patterns emerging from recommendation of frequent weeding with mechanical weeders in SRI pose new challenges to traditional gender roles and bodies of labourers. Introduction of specific models of weeders enabled both genders to undertake mechanical weeding, mainly in family farms. This change, however, could not yet influence deep-rooted gender-specific wage asymmetries although both do equal work and ensure men’s participation in manual weeding. Degree of participation of men and women in mechanical weeding and pursuit of weeding schedules depend upon factors like natural environment, extension strategies, household-level gender roles, negotiations among household members, age of the labourer, livelihood strategies, ownership, availability, accessability and adequacy of weeders. Not only users, women’s groups also emerged as managers of weeders where it is consciously facilitated by the extension agencies. Reduction in work time, change in posture and participation of men produce different bodily experiences for men and women. Bodily experiences play a determining role in use/rejection/acceptance of models of weeders.

Extension agencies arrange some modicum of training for the farmers where number and proportion of men and women depends upon the extension strategies. But next to nothing is available for agricultural labourers although smallholders are also labourers. Often sending farmers for exposure visits to SRI fields or conducting training programs is equated with skilling and agricultural labourers, mostly women, are generally excluded from even such a semblance of skilling through exposure. It was found that social learning and individual learning is continuous and integrated in the lives of the labourers and hardly any mechanism is there to facilitate this.

This study emphasises that weeding schedules, gender-wise work participation and bodies are affected by agricultural technologies in their social-material context which also affect technologies in turn. The study suggests integrating gender and physical issues with interdisciplinary approach in agricultural technology evaluation, for involving men and women in choice, design/development and application of gender-sensitive technologies, and for steering innovative extension and scaling-up strategies for better organisation of labour.

User Adaptations in Rice Farms of Uttarakhand: Landscape and Farm Level Interactions
Debashish Sen, Peoples Science Institute (PSI)

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is said to have been evolved by farmers of Madagascar during 1980s. In spite of the persisting scientific debate, the system is claimed to have spread in more than 50 countries. Past studies have not paid much attention to the meanings that farmers have given to the system in different agro-ecological contexts. Adherence or deviations from recommended practices and mixed performance of the system have been reported, overlooking farm diversity and dynamics of human relations. My research therefore explored how farm households adapt SRI according to local bio-physical and socio-cultural context. This paper in particular presents farmers’ strategies in crop establishment and water management practices by exploring farm and landscape interactions, and social organizations around rice farming.

The study was conducted over three rice seasons (2011 to 2013) and focused on three contrasting villages situated in Bhilangana sub-basin of Uttarakhand, India. The study followed an ethnographic approach using a mix of tools: participant observations of all rice plots of 30 randomly selected farmers (10 from each village), focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews with key informants. All SRI plots with transplanting patterns were mapped for two seasons. Study of transplanting groups, plot level measurements of transplanting characteristics and daily water depths of randomly selected SRI and non-SRI plots along with semi-structured interviews clarified farmers’ strategies.

Scattered layout of irregular small sized plots, varying soil conditions and elevations, diverse cropping patterns, a predominantly cascade irrigation system, and limited labour and draft made it difficult to practice SRI as a standard package. Hybridization of existing practices and SRI elements led to emergence of array of rice cropping systems across farms. Technological adaptations were accompanied and complemented by institutional reconfigurations in task groups undertaking specific activities, along with changes in socio-cultural norms guiding rice farming. Farmers preferred to follow SRI in middle reach of perennial canals with early transplanting of young seedlings and reduced planting density. Water depth was increased gradually from crop establishment to flowering upto grain filling, but was kept considerably less than for existing methods. Farmers with an unreliable water supply used old seedlings, permitting the common flooding practice, though plant spacing was still widened.

The study highlights that socio-technical assemblages around crop management are contextual, complex, contingent and negotiable. Their meaning varies across space and time. A standard package of agricultural practices as in SRI therefore may not be workable for all farm households. Yet, farmers might benefit from individual components of SRI such as wide plant spacing. Reduced water depths as under SRI also indicates a large potential of water saving. Based on our research the relevance of the standard concepts of “adoption-disadoption – non-adoption” that are popular in the agricultural development sector, could be questioned. In the past, quick and superficial assessments done soon after SRI’s introduction have bypassed important features of progressive adoption of SRI practices also occurring in existing rice systems. The study thus calls for collaborations between agronomy, irrigation engineering and social sciences to arrive at viable crop management options.

Groundwater Irrigated Rice: A Techno - Economic Exploration of the possibilities of producing "More Rice with Less Water"
A. Ravindra, WASSAN and Rob Schipper, Wageningen University

Purpose: Rice cultivation has been expanding into water-scarce semi-arid areas. An absence of water-pricing and policies that supply electricity at free or flat rates leave little incentive for farmers to save water and constrain scaling-up of water-saving measures such as Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD). Using tools developed for ‘safe-AWD’ by IRRI, the present on-farm research makes comparisons of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and conventional rice cultivation. It explores whether SRI integrated with ‘safe-AWD’ can provide a better incentive to farmers for practicing water-saving measures, i.e. ‘producing more rice with less water’.

Approach and methods: A random sample of 41 paired rice plots (SRI and conventional methods)studied within 7 villages in two semi-arid districts of Andhra Pradesh, India provided the data. Daily water level observations from AWD- ‘field water tubes’ installed in the farmers’ plots were used to develop aMean Daily Inundation Index (MDI), as an indicator for irrigation water use. Agronomic and yield data were collected from field samples and structured surveys provided data on input use. Descriptive statistics,Cluster Analysis, Principal Component Analysis, and Linear Regression models were used in the data analysis.

Key results: In spite of serious water scarcities, farmers could maintain water level in the fields just at saturation levels. Comparison of MDI against the safe-AWD standard of -15 cm indicated potential water savings ranging from -3 to -6 cm MDI. Paired sample differences showed a statistically significant yield advantage with SRI at 12% (6.5 q per ha) over conventional practice, while cluster analysis showed a yield advantage of SRI with square planting over conventional methods at 22%. Regression results confirmed the positive influence of SRI in explaining yield variation and insignificance of MDI at vegetative and reproductive phases in explaining yield variation.

Synthesis and application: The results point towards potential reduction in water use while achieving a yield increase ranging from 12 to 22% in the study areas. Integration of safe-AWD tools with SRI principles can potentially provide a policy lever for effective scaling-up of water-saving measures. Synchronising water and energy policies with the promotion of ‘safe-AWD integrated SRI’ will be much more effective.

Evaluating Water Use, Water Savings, and Water Use Efficiency in Irrigated Rice Production with SRI vs Standard Management
Pratyaya Jagannath, Hemant Pullabhotla, and Norman Uphoff

A meta-analysis was done of data from 29 published studies comparing SRI and non-SRI methods of irrigated rice production that gave results from a total of 251 comparison trials. The purpose was to assess differences in total and irrigation water use associated with SRI vs. non-SRI rice crop management practices, evaluating water savings achieved with SRI management and calibrating differences in water use efficiency.

A SRI characterization matrix was used to assess the degree to which specific trials represented SRI or non-SRI management, based on the number and extent of specified agronomic practices used. This avoided purely nominal classification.

Descriptive statistical analysis showed a clear advantage in water use and water productivity for SRI management compared to use of more standard cultivation methods. The mean water use with SRI management reported from the studies was 12.03 million liters ha-1, compared to 15.33 million liters ha-1 when more conventional non-SRI methods were used with continuous flooding of rice paddies. This represents a 22% average total water savings of about 3.3 million liters of water ha-1.

Since the average paddy yield per hectare with SRI methods in these trials was 5.9 tons compared to 5.3 tons using more conventional practices, the higher yield was achieved with less input of water. As the rainfall was similar for both methods of management in all trials, the water savings in terms of irrigation water applied were relatively even higher with SRI methods. Analysis of trial results showed an average reduction of 35% in irrigation water applications associated with the higher grain yield.

Total water use efficiency (TWUE) was found to be 52% greater with SRI methods since the mean productivity for SRI across the various trials was 0.6 gram of grain per liter of water, compared to the 0.39 gram of grain per liter produced with non-SRI methods. In terms of irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE), SRI trials had an even greater advantage as these methods produced on average 1.23 grams of grain per liter of irrigation water, compared to 0.69 gram of grain per liter produced with non-SRI crop management, an advantage of 78%.

Further analysis showed that these advantages of water saving and water productivity with SRI management were manifested across different contextual conditions for rice production, considering variations in cropping season, in climate, in soil texture and pH, and in rice variety planted (length of crop cycle). These improvements were confirmed by multivariate regression analysis.

Many interests will be served by being able to reduce water requirements for paddy cultivation. SRI is an innovation presently available at little or reduced cost that can benefit producers, consumers and the environment by enhancing food production and the economic returns to farmers at the same time that it reduces demand for water in the rice sector.

Revising agronomic and socio-economic paradigms for crop improvement: Findings from SRI research globally
Norman Uphoff, SRI-Rice, Cornell University, USA

Most agricultural research aims at making incremental additions to the body of scientific knowledge. From time to time, however, an accumulation of new knowledge first challenges and then changes the way that phenomena, natural or social, are understood and get acted upon, in what is characterized as a paradigm shift. This builds upon incremental research findings, but it requires most importantly some new vision and re-conceptualization. Progress in science depends more upon such shifts than upon piecemeal accretions of knowledge. Indeed, these additions are themselves conditioned (and constrained) by whatever constitute the prevailing paradigms. These depend upon simplifying assumptions that screen in some information and screen out other information; further, they are limited and even biased by the methodologies and measurements that they prescribe.

We are seeing that after 15 years of research and over 400 published articles (, and with demonstrations of efficacy now in over 50 countries (, the ideas and methods of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) -- and its derived/expanded version, the System of Crop Intensification (SCI) – have been taken up by >10 million farmers on as many as 4 million hectares in over 50 countries.

This spread has been fueled by higher crop yields that are achieved with reduced inputs and with lower costs of production, plus there are also enhanced resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and other advantages which make SRI/SCI attractive. These features derive from making SRI/SCI changes in the management of plants, soil, water and nutrients.

Researchers and farmers have not expected that it would be possible to ‘produce more with less,’ because the prevailing paradigm for agricultural research and application has assumed that higher yields require new varieties (better genotypes) and more inputs: higher seed rates, more fertilizer, more water, more agrochemical protection. This thinking does not take into account, however, the dynamic biological factors of (a) root growth and functioning and (b) positive contributions from the plant-soil microbiome. It is these factors that make it possible for SRI management to produce ‘more with less.’ Although the Green Revolution paradigm enjoyed considerable success in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, particularly in India, its progress and its productivity plateaued in succeeding decades as the paradigm has encountered diminishing returns.

This paper reviews research findings that support the proposition that existing crop genotypes, for rice but also for some other crops, have more productive potential, i.e., can produce better phenotypes, than are now achieved with standard plant, soil, water and nutrient management practices. The SRI approach to agriculture has succeeded not only because it has worked outside the ‘box’ of the current agronomic paradigm, but also because it has shifted the prevailing paradigm for research and extension, which privileges formal scientific knowledge and training over farmer observation and experimentation.

SRI introduces a more farmer-centered strategy for making further agricultural improvements. This will not displace or derogate more formal science-based research. But its emergence suggests that a new synthesis should be sought between formal and farmer knowledge/activity, especially to cope with the hard-core challenges of continuing hunger and poverty, on the one hand, and adverse climatic changes, on the other.

Comparative performance of System of Wheat Intensification (SWI) and other methods of wheat cultivation in north western plain zone of India
Shiva Dhar, Principal Scientist, Division of Agronomy, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, B C Barah, NABARD Chair Professor, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and A K Vyas, Assistant Director General (HR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research

A field experiment was conducted during winter season of 2011-12 to 2012-13 at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in randomised block design (RBD) with three replications using wheat variety ‘HD 2967’ to know the performance of different methods of wheat cultivation. The experiment consists of six treatments, viz., Conventional Improved Practices (CIP), Furrow Irrigated Raised Bed System (FIRBS), System of Wheat Intensification (SWI)-direct seeded (SWI-D), SWI- transplanted (SWI-T), modified CIP with irrigation as scheduled in SWI (MCIP-I) and Modified CIP with 20x10 cm spacing (MCIP-II). The wheat yield was found to vary from 4.07 t ha-1 for SWI-T to 7.93 t ha-1 for SWI-D in 2011-12. In the repeat trial, the results was identical, wherein yield ranged from 3.68 t ha-1 for SWI-T to 6.94 t ha-1 for SWI-D in 2012-13, which was less favorable year for wheat. The reduction in grain yield of SWI-D was to the extent of 12.5% attributed to impact of climatic variation, while it is more being 22% for CIP and 31.4 % in MCIP-I. Along with grain yield, production of total biomass yield was also high (20.46 and 18.03 t ha-1) in SWI-D during 2011-12 and 2012-13, respectively. There was general reduction in yields ranged from 9.6 to 31.4 % due to weather effect in 2012-13, but SWI performed best during both the years as compared to other treatments indicating that SWI-D is reasonably resilient to weather aberrations. The yield attributing characters like number of spiklets earhead-1, grains earhead-1 and 1000 grain weight were significantly superior in SWI-D, however, number of effective tillers were significantly higher only during favourable year of 2011-12.The higher root length and root volume were also recorded from the SWI-D as compared to other treatments. Soil test values after harvest of crop show a higher build-up of N, P and K in SWI-D. The available nitrogen increased in the range of 25-41%, phosphorous by 2.9-4.9%, and potash more than 9.0- 9.3 % in SWI-T followed by SWI-D and other conventional methods. In the contrast, the nutrients level depleted for all other conventional treatments. Mean Net returns Rs. 83.0 thousand ha-1 were obtained from SWI-D as against Rs. 61.2 thousand ha-1 from the CIP. The findings showed that SWI outperformed the conventional improved methods on the basis of growth, yield, soil nutrient status and net returns. Thus, the System of Wheat Intensification (SWI-D) is a promising innovation having the in-built capability of productivity-enhancing as well as climate-resilience.

Interpreting Changes in Soil Quality and Root Health in the System of Rice Intensification
Janice Thies, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Cornell University, USA

The demand for food to feed the growing world population is increasing rapidly, while the land and water resources needed for crop production are decreasing globally. These realities motivate the current focus on ‘sustainable intensification’ of crop production; that is, growing more food on the same or less land, while also conserving system resources. The principles underpinning the System of Rice Intensification are aimed at helping farmers produce more rice using less water and other inputs. When transitioning to SRI, we must understand that changes in soil redox potential that accompany changes in water use patterns will lead to important changes in soil biogeochemistry that will affect root health, soil quality and how carbon, nutrient elements and metals are cycled and sequestered by soil microorganisms. Changes in water management will also change fluxes of greenhouse gases and the associated loss of nutrient elements from these systems. Some of these changes are predictable, in part, based on current knowledge. However, specific interactions between soil factors at a site will determine which nutrients or chemical conditions will be limiting when water availability changes. We also need to keep in mind that, as soils drain, indigenous populations of pathogens held at bay by flooded conditions may become active. Root-feeding nematodes and fungal pathogens are both stimulated by more aerobic conditions. It is not yet practical to predict if or what types of pathogens will constrain production at a given site. It is safe to say that findings from one soil type or site are unlikely to be successfully applied to another soil type or site unless there is a mechanistic understanding of the rice genotype by environment (GxE) interactions possible. Soil quality and root health ‘indicators’ are a means to begin to understand potential site constraints so that they can be addressed more explicitly and in a more integrated way in rice producing systems. Examining the ‘health’ of roots grown in site soils under the intended moisture regimes is a critical first step. Frameworks have been developed and used successfully to monitor changes in soil quality in temperate cropping systems. Research is needed in rice cropping systems in order to develop means to address the constraints imposed by pathogenic soil biota and likely changes in nutrient cycling under SRI management to assure long-term soil fertility and sustained rice production globally.

Developing Location - Specific Management Practices for Agricultural Resource Conservation and for 'Climate Proofing' of Rice Cultivation using SRI
Abha Mishra, Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (ACISAI), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand

The purpose of this study was to explore the avenue for sustainable intensification of rice using system of Rice Intensification (SRI) principle under rainfed condition involving smallholder farmers who face food insecurity along with degraded natural resource base and climate change variability.

Participatory action research study was established in three provinces of Thailand for three years involving farmers, researchers, traders, government and nongovernment organizations. Using conventional management practices, indigenous knowledge and SRI principle, different types of innovative agronomic crop management (IACM) practices were defined and tested to address the location-specific challenges. Working through an inclusive process of dialogue, observation and diagnosis, participants made a thorough analysis of the current management practices and various tested IACM practices for their productivity and profitability along with reduced input use.

The results of three seasons and from all three provinces confirmed the potential of IACM practices in enhancing crop and water productivity along with soil fertility in relation to existing crop management practices under rainfed condition. It was also evident that significant increases in yield and higher net farm income could be realized with relatively low inputs (seed, water, and fertilizers) using IACM practices. However, factors that include: (1) the age of the farmers and (2) off farm employment opportunity and (3) lack of incentive for good management practices and (4) lack of effective marketing linkages are the key drives that affect the crop management decision making process.

As a part of recommendation, it was suggested that exploration of value added production alternatives; favorable policy along with effective marketing linkages are required to sustain environmentally friendly IACM management practices that can benefit farmers, consumers and the environment with reduced climate forcing.

These positive results at plot scale studies and emerging scenario for dealing with climate change and food security issue of Asian rice farmers created impetus for scaling up the SRI action at the regional level involving various international, regional, national, local, government and non-government organizations. A regional effort in the Lower Mekong River Basin countries, i.e., in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam is underway to develop further knowledge and understanding on low cost alternative crop management practices that reduces input use and carbon footprint and contributes towards the food security.

Integrated System of Rice Intensification (ISRI) for enhancing Crop and Water Productivity under Changing Climate
Amod Kumar Thakur; Rajeeb Kumar Mohanty; Ashwani Kumar, Directorate of Water Management (ICAR)

Enhancing crop production under increasing water constraints and greater climatic variability is a major challenge in agriculture. In many rice-growing areas, cultivation depends mainly on seasonal rainfall and unreliable rainfall distribution results in either flooding or long dry spells, causing environmental stress and low productivity. Therefore, climate-resilient upland rice production systems are needed under which the productivity of both land and water can be enhanced. The critical plant morphological factors that stand out in this respect are the roots and root systems of individual plants.

A 2-year field experiment was conducted in Odisha, India, evaluating four alternative rice cultivation systems: (i) conventional rice cultivation methods under rainfed conditions, (ii) System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods adapted to rainfed conditions, (iii) rainfed SRI methods with supplementary pump-irrigation and drainage, and (iv) SRI methods utilizing harvested rainwater for aquaculture and horticulture crops, also providing supplementary irrigation for the rice crop during dry spells.

Compared with conventional rainfed rice cultivation, adaptations of SRI practices like younger seedling (12-days) with low planting density (single seedling, 20x20 cm spacing) resulted into significant improvements in the morpho-physiological characteristics of rice plants. Phenotypic improvements included: plant height, greater tillering, more number of leaves, and expanded root systems. These changes were accompanied by improvements in physiological functions like greater xylem exudation rate, higher light interception by the canopy, more chlorophyll content, greater light utilization, and higher photosynthetic rates in the leaves during flowering. These factors were responsible for improvement in yield-contributing characteristics and for higher grain yield (53%) compared with conventional production methods. The profuse, deeper, and more functional root-systems of SRI plants are able to cope with flooding/drought stresses. All of these features along with grain yield and water productivity further improved by providing drainage and supplementary irrigation to the crop. Further, integrating aquaculture and horticulture with SRI management, utilizing harvested rainwater, increased rice productivity, net water productivity and net income per unit of water used.

Reduced plant densities under SRI, leading to remarkable increases in root development, are seen to alleviate the risks of unreliable rainfall, while leading to increased grain yields. Utilization of harvested rainwater for aquaculture and horticulture and for SRI rice crop though supplementary irrigation looks promising for improving food security under unreliable and erratic rainfall conditions.

The System of Rice Intensification in India: Results of a survey in 62 villages in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand
Robert A. Schipper, Development Economics Group, Wageningen University, Sabarmatee, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, Debashish Sen, People Science Institute, Deradun, Uttarakhand, Ravindra A., WASSAN, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Ezra Berkhout, Development Economics Group, Wageningen University

In the framework of the research project ‘The System of Rice Intensification as a socio-economic and technical movement in India’, a survey was held in 2012 in 62 villages in a number of districts and sub-districts in the states of Andhra Pradesh (Mahabubnagar & Warangal districts), Odisha (Ganjam, Kandhamal & Koraput districts) and Uttarakhand (Tehri Garwal district). The aim of this Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) was to study the spread and performance of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). The chosen districts were seen as relevant for the conditions in each state regarding the way rice cultivation is cultivated and the occurrence of SRI. Furthermore, villages in each sub-district were stratified into SRI and Non-SRI villages; from these strata the villages to be surveyed were selected. Each of the selected villages was visited by a small team of at least two researchers; during the visit group interviews were held about general themes related to location and accessibility of the village, population and households, types and availability of lands, distribution of land holdings over households, water use and availability, land use and crops, institutions and facilities. However, the major emphasis was placed on different ways of rice cultivation. Such group interviews during a RRA can give a general picture of a village. However, it does not give insight into the differences between households within a village. Therefore, at a later date the village survey was followed up with a survey of 10 farm households in each of the selected villages; results of this survey will be reported in a separate paper.

The paper presents village descriptive results under the headings of general data, land characteristics, rice cultivation practices, institutions and facilities. Due to the large differences between the three states, all results are presented per state. After the descriptive results, different ‘forms’ of SRI as they are observed in the survey are shown. Is it possible to define the most common ones and contrast these with an ideal type of SRI? Furthermore, it is attempted to explain the occurrence of (different forms of) SRI in each state, followed by a discussion of problems encountered in rice cultivation in general and in SRI in particular. Finally, to the extend the data permit, the yield performance of SRI in comparison to conventional rice cultivation is evaluated.

SRI Cultivation in Andhra Pradesh: Positive Evidence on Yield and GHGs Effects but Problems of Adoption
D. Narasimha Reddy and M. Venkatanarayana, National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD), Hyderabad

Rice is one of the most intensive staple food-grains and also by far the most irrigation – intensive crop. It is increasingly being extended to groundwater based irrigation areas raising concerns of water use efficiency and emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the context of climate change. While concerns of food security require attention to methods that would reduce costs and increase productivity, the challenges of GHGs call for new methods and technologies that would reduce energy use and mitigate the adverse effects associated with rice production. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is widely advocated as one such emerging method of rice cultivation that would answer these concerns. As a part of the efforts to gather scientific evidence from different parts of the rice growing world, a study was undertaken in some parts of India to examine the GHGs effects of SRI and the extent of adoption of the method. The first part of the paper presents evidence on costs, yield and GHGs effect of the SRI in Andhra Pradesh, and the second part discusses the efforts made towards the extension of the area under SRI in the state. The results based on a field survey of SRI in Andhra Pradesh, with the conventional HYV as a control group, show that SRI uses less of water, less of labour, generates less CO2, involves lower costs, and brings higher yields. The soil derived Methane (CH4) generated per tonne of rice is much lower in the case of SRI, but the Nitrous Oxide (N2O) produced is much higher.

Andhra Pradesh is one of the states that initiated the adoption of SRI cultivation more than ten years ago. Efforts to promote SRI cultivation in the state were made by public agencies like NABARD, Krishi Vignan Kendras (KVKs), Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA), research institutions like Acharya Ranga Agricultural University and ICRISAT, civil society organizations like Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and WASSAN, and several progressive farmers. These efforts were based on the evidence from farmers’ field experience of better yield, early maturation, better cyclone and flood withstanding capacity, and better quality of grain of SRI method compared to traditional practices of rice cultivation. Many farmers in the state also contributed to promote SRI practice by improving the tools for weeding and marking. Yet the progress in the adoption of SRI in the state has been very low. The paper analyses some of the reasons for the slow adoption rate and suggests possible ways which could help in the spread of SRI over a wider area.

SRI: An Analysis of Adoption Levels Across 13 States, India
Dr. K.R. Karunakaran, Professor (Agricultural Economics), TNAU

A macro level study covering 13 major rice growing states was undertaken during 2010-11 to analyse mainly the adoption level of the SRI components. The results indicate that fields with SRI have higher average yield of 8.5 quintals per ha (q/ha) or 22%, than the average yield of 37.9 q/ha of non-SRI fields. Out of the four core SRI components typically recommended, 41% adopted one component (low adopters), 39% adopted two to three components (partial adopters) and only 20% adopted all the components (full adopters). Full adopters recorded the highest yield increase (31%) compared to yield increase under partial (25%) and low adopters (15%). Thus, 80% are doing only the modified SRI practices with yields higher than their conventional practices. The SRI and modified SRI fields had a higher gross margin (Rs 7000/ha) and lower production cost (Rs 178/q) compared to non-SRI fields. The transaction (managerial) cost, even though accounted for only an additional 2-3 % of the total operational cost is reported as the key constraint for adopting SRI and modified SRI practices, where non-availability of skilled labourers at crucial times of operations, poor water control and poor soils are the other major constraints. The drivers of adoption of SRI and modified SRI practices are: a) Selection of appropriate SRI components to suit the region, b) geo-mapping of the potential regions with suitable soils, crop seasons and irrigation sources, c) introduction of machine transplantation, d) availability of user friendly conoweeders to farmers at affordable price, and e) intensification of capacity building programs to farmers on selective SRI components.

Patterns of the System of Rice Intensification in India: Results from RRA Village studies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarkhand
Rob Schipper, Ezra Berkhout, Sabarmatee, Debashish Sen, A. Ravindra

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Household Food Security : An analysis of dynamics of adoption and disadoption process of SRI in Rainfed areas in eastern India
B C Barah, Narendranath (PRADAN), Shipra Singh and Amit Kumar

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an agroecological innovation, appropriate for small and marginal farmers. It has gained more popularity and wider acceptance among the farmers and other stakeholders due to increasing production potentiality with lesser inputs, reduced cost and climate resilience properties. In order to understand the dynamics of adoption process, a carefully designed longitudinal farm survey was conducted during 2011-12, 2012-13 among the 715 SRI farmers in selected SRI districts in Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The farmers were selected using stratified random sampling procedure representing three distinct groups, viz, practicing SRI farmers including new adopters (SRI farmers including old SRI farmers as well as newly adopted farmers), farmers discontinued SRI at a point time (Disadopter) and farmers who never practiced SRI (Non SRI farmers as control). A specifically prepared questionnaire schedule was propagated in the door to door interview. The farmers’ perception on SRI was also elicited and FGD conducted. The finding of survey is interesting. Survey clearly brings out that the adoption of SRI appears faster within a short span of time as compared to that in case of green revolution technology. The survey reveals that the major factors encouraging farmers to adopt SRI, are increase in productivity, reduced cost and improved food security. Almost all farmers are satisfied with SRI and experienced more availability of home grown food. As high as 43% farmers reported 9 to 12 months of additional food availability of food due to SRI. More farmers experienced 3 to 8 months of additional food availability. The input saving such as seed, water, fertilizer and labour has attracted more adoption. Survey also ring out tremendous dynamism in gender participation due to SRI. However, a small stint of disadoption was observed. The extent of disadoption was found to be in the range of disadoption was 6-13 per cent during the period. The farmers unanimously reported that the disadoption of the type is not voluntary in nature as it occurred mainly due to external factors, such as unfavourable weather conditions like droughts and ocassionally flood within crop season. For instance, Bihar and Jharkhand experienced severe droughts in a row in previous two years and Odisha had drought (weather failure got the highest Garret rank of 99% followed by inadequate availability of inputs, lack of knowledge and labour issue). A small proportion of farmers expressed inability to perform operations due to personal health, family problem and lack of handholding. Therefore, provision of protective life-saving irrigation for enhancing climate resilience emerged as the effective policy need. Interestingly, farmers observed that even in unfavourable weather, SRI performs well as compared to conventional method of cultivation, albeit there is generally reduction in production. The farmers also emphasized the need for access to technological knowledge. As the SRI is a knowledge innovation, proper information of practices and processes including initial handholding assistance and supply of newer implements, is needed for innovating farming. Evidences derived in the study provide a powerful basis for deriving strong institutional architecture and proper advocacy mechanism that suits the local conditions for wider up scaling.

Modern intensified agriculture: a product of public-private collaboration - Some insights based on the “System of Rice Intensification”
Willem A. Stoop

For many years, starting from the 1950/60s, agricultural research and the development recommendations based on it, have focused on mostly technocratic approaches in combination with introducing new, fertilizer-responsive, crop cultivars emanating from centralised (national and international) crop breeding programs. This has constituted the basis of the “Green Revolution” and the modern industrialised forms of agriculture. In that context a general “intensification” doctrine has evolved, that is widely taught at universities and that is at the basis of many (modelling) efforts to formulate productive and profitable crop systems. These systems are mainly based on packages of the following bio-technical components: 1) new, high-yielding, short-statured varieties (improved seeds), 2) high seed rates / high plant densities, 3) liberal use of mineral fertilisers, nitrogen in particular, 4) optimised soil water regimes through irrigation/drainage, and 5) use of crop protection chemicals to control diseases, pests and weeds. Notably absent from this intensification package are major factors such as: soils, roots, root systems and soil biota.

The conventional –best practice—technological packages depend in many critical ways on external inputs that are provided by the private sector agro-industries and that at global scales represent huge commercial interests.

Starting in the late 1990s the “system of rice intensification (SRI)” –largely a grassroots development—has progressively and increasingly been providing fundamental challenges to this mainstream intensification approach. The often spectacular results of SRI in many rice growing areas of the world support the notion that grain yields (not only for rice) can be raised substantially through relatively simple agronomic practices suitable for any type of farmer; simultaneously expenditures on external inputs (seeds and chemicals) are considerably reduced. Notably, it shows that seed rates could be reduced to 1/5th even 1/10th of the conventionally recommended rates.

The paper explores various ramifications of the SRI findings for agricultural research in general and the complex set of factors (bio-technical, commercial, political and psychological) that are fundamentally affecting the scaling-up processes for SRI (see also abstract for policy workshop).

System of Rice Intensification (SRI) Evaluation for its potential to enhance the productivity of rice (Oryzea sativa L.) and its impact in different agro-ecological situations in India
R Mahender Kumar, , K. Surekha , Ch Padmavathi , B.Sreedevi , B.Gangaiah, N. Somashekar , M.S.Prasad, V.Ravindra Babu, P. Raghuveer Rao, P.C. Latha,L.V. Subba Rao, B.Sailaja , Sudhakara. T.M. Santhappa. D, P.Muthuraman, Shaik. N.Meera, B. Nirmala and B.C. Viraktamat, Directorate of Rice Research (DRR), ICAR

System of Rice Intensification (SRI), developed in Madagascar, a systems approach to increasing rice productivity with less reliance on expensive external inputs, is gaining momentum all over the world including India which needs to be evaluated in Indian conditions. Directorate of Rice Research under AICRIP has conducted a total of 147 experiences across India from 2005 till 2013 to evaluate SRI methods, assessing their potential and the effects of individual SRI principles for enhancing productivity under different agro-ecological conditions compared to standard normal transplanting methods.

SRI recorded significantly higher grain yield (6.22 t ha-1) followed by integrated crop management (ICM) (6.07 t ha-1), standard practice of transplanting (5.60 t ha-1), and direct seeding with drum seeder (5.13 t ha-1). Further,  hybrids registered significantly higher grain yield with SRI methods (6.77 t ha-1) followed by medium-duration and long-duration genotypes (6.24 and 5.97 t ha-1, respectively).

There was no significant difference in grain yield overall between transplanting 10-day and 15- day old seedlings with SRI practices; however, 10-day seedlings recorded higher yield during kharif (5.9 t ha-1), while 15-day seedlings gave higher yield in rabi (5.04 t ha-1). Among the crop establishment methods tested, SRI @ 25x25 spacing recorded 5% and 14% more yield, compared with ICM @ 20x20 cm and standard transplanting @ 20x10 cm, respectively, irrespective of time of transplanting.

The effect of cono-weedings indicated the superiority of   4 times  cono weeding (@ 10, 20, 30 and 40 DAT) followed by 2 times cono weeding (5.7% less) and herbicide application (11.8% less) during kharif season. Application of 50% inorganic + 50% organic N was comparable with 150% and 100% of recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF) and recorded with grain yield increase  of 37 %, 39 % and 43  % respectively over control indicating saving of N with organic fertilizers.

By taking in to account all the factors that determine the adoption of SRI such as proper locations, soil conditions, water control facilities etc., it may be possible to cover about 10% as total rice area i.e., about  4.0 m ha   which can bring about  tremendous benefits  for  the  country. There could be enormous  saving in seed as we require only  5 kg seed per hectare as compared to 25 kg/ha in the traditional system, saving 80,000 tonnes of seeds annually which  means  saving of RS.200 crores per season. Additional yield of  1.0 – 1.5 t/ha will add another 4 – 6 in tones of rice to our food basket and meet the challenges of enhancing the rice production. The system also helps us to save about 30% water which is equivalent to 2200 million m3.  Besides, soil health improvement which would be a biggest bonus in adopting SRI.

Based on multi-location testing over a decade, indicated that SRI has the potential to enhance the productivity of the rice with reduced inputs and significant impact in different agro-ecological situation and soil types across the country.

Comparative performance of rice varieties grown under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and traditional puddlled transplanted at the experimental station
S S Parihar, B C Barah, Ravinder Kaur, Radha Prasanna, Nivedita Jain, Manol Khanna, Pankaj Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Subhash Chandra, Bishan Dev, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi- 110 012

Experiment was conducted during kharif/rainy season of 2013-14 at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. The aim is to evaluate the relative performances of various improved varieties with alternative methods of rice cultivation viz, SRI innovation and conventional improved method (CMP) and to validate the principles of SRI. Five improved IARI varieties viz, Pusa 44, Pusa 834, Pusa 1401, Pusa 1509, PRH-10 were tested in split plot design with three replications. The experiment was aimed to examine the inter-varietal comparative performance under both methods. An innovative experimental design protocol has been developed in consultation using innovative participatory approach. Various stakeholders including research leaders, policy makers, civil society organization and farmers are involved. Quality seed is selected with Brine method. Before nursery sowing the seed is inoculated with Pseudomonas fluorescens. Raised wet bed nursery (10 cm above the ground level, 1 meter wide and length as required) with channels all around was formed. Before the sowing of seed, soil was mixed with vermin compost or well decomposed manure @1kg/sq meter and level the surface (preferably the 2:1 ratio of soil and compost). Transplanting of single seedling per hill was done with plant to plant square pattern spacing of 25x25cm. Results were encouraging. The yield of rice under conventional method was found to vary from 6.81 ton/ha of Pusa 44, 5.94 ton for Pusa 834, 6.05 ton for Pusa 1401, 5.76 ton in Pusa 1509 and 6.69 ton for PRH-10. The corresponding yield under SRI was 7.48 ton, 6.42, 6.41 ton, 6.13 ton and 7.40 ton respectively. It gives a clear yield advantage of SRI to the extent of five to six quintal for all the five varieties. The yield could have been even better if rainfall would have been normal.  There was excess rainfall above the normal uniformly throughout the season by week by week. The normal rainfall for the season in IARI farm has been 708mm, while actual total rainfall was1565 mm. Thus, water management could not be done properly for SRI. The other yield attributes such number of tillers per hill and plant height is also measured after 62 days of sowing and found significant difference under two methods as summarized in the table below. 

Growth of number of tillers per hill  in  growth stages for 62 DAS for selected varieties


Pusa 44

Pusa 1509


# tillers

Plant height(cm)

# tillers

Plant height (cm)












Another significant finding is that the SRI substantially reduced infestation of nematodes. The population of rice root nematode Hirschmanniella oryzae was high in conventional method compared to SRI. Amongst varieties there was difference in nematode population and Variety P-1401 showed the least infestation compared to others.


Infestation of Hirschmanniella oryzae

(Nematodes  population(#) per 200 cc soil, study by Dr. Pankaj)


Pusa 44

Pusa 834

Pusa 1401

Pusa 1509















The weed population is also found almost negligible in SRI plots on account of large volume of root inter-locking the space. Similarly, water use pattern also showed encouraging results. Irrigation water was measured using volumetric meter and found that water saving to the extent of 31-35% reduction in water use in SRI as compared to the conventional fields. The quantity of Irrigation varied from 1288 mm to 1370 mm under CMP, while same for SRI varied from 845-940 mm.


Gross Irrigation (mm)

Water saving (%)




Pusa 44




Pusa 834




Pusa 1401




Pusa 1509




PRH 10




 Economic returns also suggested that SRI across the varieties varied from Rs. 63.0 thousand ha-1 for Pusa 1509 to Rs. 85.2 thousand ha-1for Pusa 44. The corresponding figures under CMP varied from Rs.59.0 thousand ha-1 to Rs.60.8 thousand ha-1 having gain in yield in the percentage difference of 40-42% of SRI over the CMP method.

Net return and cost (RS./ha)


Gross revenue Rs./ha

Return Rs/ha

% Diff.






over SRI

Pusa 44






Pusa 834






Pusa 1401






Pusa 1509













Output price: Rs.1250/qtl



 The findings showed that SRI outperformed the conventional improved methods on the basis of growth, yield, yield attributes, saving in input such as seed (nearly 80%), water saving, less agro chemical, etc., reduction of pest and disease and water saving including nematodes and net returns. Thus, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a promising innovation having the in-built capability of productivity-enhancing as well as climate-resilience.

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in India: Historical Antecedents and Future Perspectives
Dr. Dominic Glover, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RE, United Kingdom

The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is generally reported to have been discovered or invented in Madagascar quite suddenly in the early 1980s, developed there during the ensuing decade, and spread from there to other rice-producing areas of the world since the mid-1990s. The conventional story of SRI also says that agronomic principles of SRI were developed out of a chance discovery made by a French Jesuit missionary and agronomist, based on his attentive observation of both rice plants and paddy farmers. This style of inductive, experiential, field-level agronomy is usually contrasted favourably with the top-down, abstract, deductive methods of formal rice science.

This paper presents newly uncovered historical evidence which establishes that this traditional story is incomplete and partly inaccurate. Documentary material shows that rice cultivation methods very similar to modern SRI – with respect to both individual techniques and whole systems that closely resembled SRI – were practised by farmers, investigated scientifically by agronomists, and promoted by agriculture officials in various locations across South and Southeast Asia during several decades before the Green Revolution, in some cases more than 100 years ago.

This historical record shows that SRI stands on a firm foundation based on farmers’ practices and scientific knowledge. Both the direct lineage of the SRI methodology, as well as the existence of several close analogues from different times and places, reveal extensive interactions and exchanges of knowledge and practice between colonial agricultural science, extensionists and farmers’ practices. There have been repeated historical episodes in which certain characteristic growth habits of rice and other grain crops were noticed, generating considerable excitement about how their potential could be exploited by rice farmers to improve and increase rice production. Each time, agronomists and farmers grappled with similar challenges in developing and applying cultivation methods that were practical and affordable.

The fact that SRI is less a new discovery than a re-emergence of older methods makes the system even more intriguing than if it were genuinely unprecedented. How and why did these cultivation principles come to be overlooked or forgotten? Where did they go? And why have they reappeared in recent times? SRI appears to reflect a revival of the way rice cultivation used to be thought about and practised, as well the kinds of scientific approaches and experiments that used to be pursued by researchers. These approaches may have been marginalised and neglected by the juggernaut of the Green Revolution, but may now be re-emerging because of contemporary ecological and rural crises, such as water scarcity and migration from rural to urban areas.

Uprooting Rice Science to building a Research Community: Research Policy Challenges and Prospects of SRI in India
C. Shambu Prasad, XIMB

This paper provides an overview of the scientific controversies around SRI at three levels. First, it traces the different phases of the SRI controversy indicating the changes in the nature of the discussions over the years. Using a science and technology studies perspective wherein controversies have been studied extensively in the global production of knowledge, we show how different actors involved in the controversies have followed different strategies over the course of the controversy. Only some of it is represented in journals where this battle has been fought with knowledge being promoted and contested in other forums beyond specialised journals, which too have been asymmetric in their handling of the controversy. We show how Indian journals and researchers have played an important, though under-appreciated, role in providing a different perspective on the controversy on SRI from within science, even as networks of researcher- civil society collaborations have broadened the understanding of the controversy outside formal research spaces.

An analysis of the journal articles on SRI indicates Indian researchers leading the world in contributions even as this leadership is not reflected in research programmes or policy on agroecology in India. The paper provides an analysis of SRI journals in India from 2002-2013 and avoids a strictly scientometric study. We suggest how newer tools like GIS can be used for research planning purposes and engaging and building a research community of practice on SRI. A few recommendations to strengthen the emerging research network and its policy implications are suggested. We show that there is indeed a potential of transforming rice science as often suggested through the writings in the scientific controversies. However, this requires a shift towards following the controversy to building a research community as newer possibilities and prospects of a different rice science emerge the research of a large number of researchers on SRI who, prima facie, even in India are not sufficiently aware of each other’s works. Pursuing research that is inter-disciplinary, not crop-specific, that allows for farmer and civil society experimentation is indeed possible as some of the SRI experiences in India show, but institutional rigidities seem to prevent the emergence of a vibrant community of practice.