Chhattisgarh is known for its rice production. It is known as the rice bowl of India. On one hand we have excellent potential of rice production and on the other there is a severe problem of low productivity and malnutrition in population. All the attempts increasing the production by using chemical fertilizers and improved seeds failed in Chattisgarh and we have lost a good share of our soil-fertility due to this approach. Hence there is a need of increasing production with increasing soil fertility through organic farming. It will increase the quality, quantity and diversity of the food. To overcome the malnutrition and poor economic situation in rural Chattisgarh, this is important.
SRI is not a technology, but rather a set of ideas and insights. It is a whole package of agronomic approaches which together exploit the genetic potential of rice plants; create a better growing environment (both above and below ground); enhance soil health and reduce inputs. SRI can increase rice yield, while using less water and lowering production costs (WWF, 2004). It uses all the usual agronomic practices for transplanted rice —raising a nursery, transplanting, irrigating, weed management and nutrient management—but there are some drastic differences in how these are carried out. SRI emphasises on utilizing early growth vigor of seedlings, facilitates less competition for light, nutrients, enhances resource use efficiency (seeds, water, fertilizer, pesticides), brings down over dependence on chemical fertilizers, promoting healthy root growth and increased soil microbial activity thereby enhancing soil organic matter content. The set of six simple practices such as planting young seedlings (10-12 days), planting seedlings at wider spacing (25x25 cm), alternate wetting and drying during vegetative phase to keep soil moist, applying organic manures, weeding with cono weeders and incorporating the weed biomass and crop protection by bio pesticides and bio control agents are emphasized. CARDS is implementing this SRI project in Khairagarh and Chhuikhadan block of Rajnandgaon district with the support of NABARD.
  • Making farmer’s aware of the importance of modern day technology farming based on the agronomy.
  • Ensuring participation of everyone including target famers and those inspired by the same.
  • Making the target farmers well versed in the method and concept of SRI, in a way setting an example for the others to follow.

These changed practices with lower inputs counter-intuitively lead to improved productivity with yields of 7-8 tonnes/hectare (t/ha), about double the present world average of 3.8 t/ha.