Category Archives: Issue: SRI

Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

AFA congratulates Dr. Yang Saing Koma, founder of the Center for Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) for being one of this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay award. CEDAC help found the organization of small farmers in Cambodia called Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), which is now a close partner of CEDAC and an active member of AFA. FNN’s Chairperson, Mr. Uon Sophal, is also the Chairperson of AFA. Dr. Koma delivered a lecture series for the Ramon Magsaysay Center on August 29, with AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia as discussant. Dr. Koma will formally receive the RM award tonight, together with other recipients. Below is the link to an article about Dr. Koma that appeared today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cambodian rice expert produces ‘more with less’

When he introduced his novel rice production method to Cambodian farmers more than a decade ago, Yang Saing Koma had to battle skeptics who laughed at his idea. How could less irrigation and shallower planting result in higher yield?

But Koma, founder of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (Cedac), only had to tap one brave farmer to get his program going.

Today, his System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an official rice production method endorsed by the Cambodian government, credited for doubling the country’s total rice output in the last decade.

And while other Asian nations, the Philippines included, still depend on rice imports, the country of almost 15 million is looking to expand its market internationally as grains constantly grow by Koma’s design.

Continue reading Ramon Magsaysay award for Cambodia’s Dr. Yang Saing Koma

Agroecology studies now available for download

By Karen Hansen-KuhnYang Saing Koma, (CEDAC/FNN); Tony Santos, PAKISAMA; Ika Krshnayanti, API
Published October 14, 2011

Rising food prices, climate change and food riots have put agriculture high on the international agenda. Too much of the current policy debate focuses narrowly on increasing the volume of food, and assumes that industrial agriculture and biotechnology are the only options for feeding a growing global population. Alternatives do exist. The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Development and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have produced a new report documenting successful approaches in three countries:

– In Cambodia, the Center for Studies and Development of Cambodian Agriculture (CEDAC) and Farmer Nature Net (FNN) have promoted the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), increasing rice production by 61 percent, bolstering incomes, reducing chemical fertilizers and using water resources more efficiently. The groups have educated local officials on the program’s success. Now more than 130,000 farmers are involved, and the Ministry of Agriculture is seeking to expand SRI throughout Cambodia.

– In the Philippines, the local agroecology movement emerged as an element of resistance to the Marcos regime and the dominance of transnational corporations in local production. Since then, national farm networks, working with local NGOs and the faith community, carried out public campaigns to reclaim Philippine agriculture and to develop appropriate organic agriculture standards.

– In Indonesia, members of Boyolali Organic Rice Farmers Association (APPOLI) and the Indonesian Peasant Alliance (API) joined forces to make organic certification processes affordable and culturally acceptable to farmers while meeting consumers’ needs. Learning from similar approaches in Brazil, the networks developed a local Participatory Guarantee System to ensure farmers get a fair price, while consumers are able to buy organic goods at lower cost.

Agroecology and Advocacy: Innovations in Asia is available at www.asianfarmers.org and www.iatp.org.

Click here to download the one-page flyer

Click here to download the full document

SRI success in Cambodia

cambodian farmer
Role of rice

In Cambodia, rice is the main staple food, and rice farming provides income and an employment opportunity for around 65% of the population. Officially, the national average yield of rice is estimated to be between 1.65 and 1.80 tons per hectare in the wet season, (low compared with other countries in the region).

During the last three decades, a great deal of effort has gone into improving traditional rice farming. This has focused on developing and disseminating recommendations for fertilizer applications, introducing improved, high-yielding varieties, and using integrated pest management.

Rising costs
Although this approach can help farmers to increase their yields, the environmental sustainability and economic advantages of this for small farmers and for Cambodia still remain an issue. Rice productivity is still relatively low compared to the growing demand, while farmers’ costs of production are increasing, mainly due to the cost of fertilizer and fuel for pumping water.

Finding solutions
During the wet season of 2000 CEDAC(1), a Cambodian NGO working to develop and disseminate innovations in ecological agriculture, integrated the elements of SRI into their sustainable rice intensification program. This story summarizes CEDAC’s results and experiences of SRI adaptation in Cambodia and concludes with a perspective on its future.

What is SRI?
SRI seeks to increase rice production through the improvement of practices in plant, water, soil and nutrient management, rather than through the use of new or purchased inputs.(2)

SRI discoveries go against some of the accepted beliefs in traditional and conventional rice farming. The main differences, especially in terms of water and plant management, are explained briefly as follows.

Continue reading the article here…