Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 145–154 | Cite as

Introduction of the System of Rice Intensification in Kenya: experiences from Mwea Irrigation Scheme

Technical Report

Abstract

There are various avenues for intensifying agricultural production, the most common being increased use of fertilizers, supplemental irrigation of crops, and adoption of high-yielding varieties. These options are rather widely known to farmers around the world, but they have not been widely adopted by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa. The low adoption rate is related to complex technical and socio-economic issues, such as poor extension services, lack of capital, failure to mobilize the requisite water, or simply, poverty. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is in a special category of innovation in that, farmers stand to gain multiple benefits from its use, including the possibility of increasing rice yields substantially, saving water, and getting better grain quality, using differently the assets that they already have. A major impediment for the adoption of SRI in Africa has been lack of knowledge about this intervention, especially for farmers already practicing irrigated agriculture. Farmers generally have good business sense and will adopt technologies or practices once the benefits are proven and the risks are seen as minor. SRI should be attractive for these reasons, but there are various issues to be resolved before large numbers of farmers can adopt the method. This article reports on the steps taken and the technical and socio-economic issues addressed in efforts to introduce SRI and promote it in Kenya, specifically in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme. A diverse set of individuals and institutions in Kenya together embarked on the evaluation and dissemination of SRI methods in this East African country beginning in July 2009. If the new methods can perform in Kenya as in other countries, this will bring much benefit to rice farmers and rice consumers in the region. SRI is coming to Kenya relatively late, as it was the thirty-ninth country from which favorable SRI results have been reported. This means that Kenyans can learn from others’ experience and evaluations, and there is also now more of a supportive institutional framework. The initial results from on-farm SRI trials have been positive, although not conclusive. They have given impetus to Kenyan farmers and institutions to collaborate within a multi-sectoral, multi-level coalition that has provided an informal, multi-faceted platform for the evaluation, adaptation and dissemination of SRI practices. The initiative in Kenya is now gaining more formal status and more resources. This experience is presented to show the kinds of things that have been and can be done to utilize the SRI opportunity for raising land, labor, and water productivity in the rice sector.

Keywords

Farmer participation Irrigation management Monitoring and evaluation On-farm trials Profitability Rice yields System of Rice Intensification Water saving 

References

  1. Ijumba JN, Mwangi R, Beier JC (1990) Malaria transmission potential of Anopheles mosquitoes in Mwea-Tebere irrigation Scheme, Kenya. Med Vet Entomol 4:425–432PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mati BM, Nyamai M (2009) Promoting the system of rice intensification in Kenya: Growing more with less water: an information brochure for training on SRI in Mwea. http://www.imawesa.net/publications/trainingmanuals/IMAWESATrainingManual5-SRInotes.pdf
  3. Mati BM, Penning de Vries FWT (2005) Bright spots on technology-driven change in smallholder irrigation: Case studies from Kenya. In: Bright Spots Demonstrate Community Successes in African Agriculture. IWMI Working Paper 102: 27-47. International Water Management Institute, Colombo (www.iwmi.cgiar.org/pubs/working/WOR102.pdf)
  4. Molden D, Frenken K, Barker R, de Fraiture C, Mati B, Svendsen M, Sadoff C, Finlayson CM (2007) Trends in water and agricultural development. In: Water for food, water for life: a comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture. International Water Management Institute, Earthscan, London, Colombo, pp 57–89Google Scholar
  5. Mukiama TK, Mwangi RW (1989) Field studies of larval Anopheles arabiensis Patton of Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Kenya. Insect Sci Appl 10:55–62Google Scholar
  6. Republic of Kenya (2004) Strategy for Revitalizing Agriculture 2004–2014. Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  7. Sombroek WG, Braun HMH, van der Pouw BJA (1982) The exploratory soil map of Kenya and agroclimatic zone map of Kenya scale 1: 1million. Exploratory Soil Survey Report No. E1. Kenya Soil Survey, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  8. Steduto P, Hsiao TC, Raes D, Fereres E (2009) AquaCrop: a new model for crop prediction under water-deficit conditions. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  9. Uphoff N (2003) Higher yields with fewer external inputs? The system of rice intensification and potential contributions to agricultural sustainability. Int J Agric Sust 1:38–50Google Scholar
  10. WBI (2008) System of Rice Intensification (SRI): Achieving more with less—a new way of rice cultivation. Overview of SRI—improving rice productivity and achieving water savings. http://info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/245848/index.html

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. M. Mati
    • 1
  • R. Wanjogu
    • 2
  • B. Odongo
    • 3
  • P. G. Home
    • 1
  1. 1.Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Mwea Irrigation and Agricultural Development Centre (MIAD), National Irrigation BoardWanguruKenya
  3. 3.Research and Development Division, African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD)NairobiKenya

Personalised recommendations