Labor requirements of system of rice intensification (SRI) in Cambodia
Local governments, NGOs, system of rice intensification (SRI) adopters, and researchers in Cambodia have extensively discussed the SRI. Agreement on the benefits, however, remains elusive. Some claim SRI increases rice yields at lower costs; others state that the evidence is still inconclusive. The adoption and impact of innovations influenced by the most practical SRI principles, which adopters can and do implement, as well as other SRI labor requirement have yet to be comprehensively investigated. This study aimed at elucidating and comparing distinct aspects of SRI labor requirements and conventional practices that can lead to more intensive SRI adoption. A household survey and field observations were conducted in three rain-fed villages in the southern part of Cambodia: two in Kampot Province and one in Kampong Speu Province. Findings showed little or no difference between SRI labor requirements and conventional practices. Laborers are in high demand when preparing land and nurseries, transplanting seedlings, and harvesting. Rice farmers alone or hired laborers have generally proved sufficient to date. Hired labor costs depend on the supply of farmer-family labor and the efficacy of the “Sharing-hand” system, not on farming techniques per se. This system helps alleviate hired labor costs, one of the highest cost factors. The findings also indicated that the degree of SRI adoption shows no correlation between the home-to-plot distance and availability of farmer-family labor or hired labor. The key factors for improving the degree of SRI adoption are farmer zeal and careful attention rather than the home-to-plot distance and availability of labor.
KeywordsSystem of rice intensification (SRI) Sharing-hand Available labor Hired labor Conventional/traditional practices Adoption
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