|16th June 2008
Dear Members of SRI community,
As you are aware, the growing global food crisis is back on the International agenda. Last three decades there has been remarkable economic growth but the basic human need for food still remains a major concern. The recent call `Food for All’ requires production of more grain, and this has to happen without further stretching our water, land and other natural resources. Bridging the yield gap, while using less water, is going to be the key challenge for India, in the coming decades. And Rice will continue to be in the forefront of the debate of producing more with less water and inputs.
Our efforts and involvement, in the last three to four years, while working on SRI- System of Rice Intensification has become even more relevant in the national and global context. As practitioners, promoters and researchers of SRI, we have significantly contributed in demonstrating that SRI is the part of the solution to food security and water crisis. SRI has clearly demonstrated its potential in increasing the yields, while decreasing the water and other input thus bringing profit to the farmers. But, this is not enough, SRI has to be scaled up in order to spread the benefit of this method to farmers at national level and help decrease water conflicts, improve productivity and avoid large water infrastructure projects without having to compromise on the food security of our country. The challenge is even greater. We all need to work together to translate the individual benefits at farm level to national level by adopting SRI in large scale. So far, our efforts primarily, if not exclusively were working with the farmers, state governments to adopt SRI. Scaling up and mainstreaming this method will be our next challenge.
As you all may agree with me, previous annual SRI symposiums organised in Hyderabad and Agartala in 2006 and 2007 respectively, provided excellent opportunity to exchange views, experiences and extended support to each other and also increase the credibility and acceptability of SRI method among policy makers. The two symposiums further facilitated in establishing effective national, state wide platforms for sharing of success stories, constraints, farmer innovations, identification of research priorities, and policy directions to enhance adoption and scaling-up of SRI methods to enhance rice production and improve the livelihoods of rural poor. It brought awareness and encouraged scientists and NGOs to work on SRI. Many important stakeholders were brought together on to one platform so that they understand and appreciate the benefits of SRI. All the important rice players of policy, research and extension from the premier institutions of the country were part of these events. Even the process of organising these symposiums has brought many players together and helped in increasing the financial and technical support to SRI activities in the country. The events clearly demonstrated the strength of partnerships. You all have significantly contributed to the process of organising the symposium and following up on the out come.
Now it is time for the third National Symposium on SRI this year. I am glad to inform that that Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU)has kindly consented to be the host to organise SRI symposium at Coimbatore. The dates most suitable for TNAU are 1-3, December 2008. I am sure you will agree with me that Tamil Nadu will be the logical choice for our next meeting due to rapid progress the state has made in mainstreaming SRI. The press reports from the state are quite exciting. So let us all once again come together and meet there to see SRI work in the state of Tamil Nadu, and also take lessons from it for deliberations on scaling up of SRI in the country. Once again, the symposium will be a three days event, with field visit on the second day to be organised by SRI, Tamil Nadu. The focus of the symposium will be more on policy and institutional issues in the backdrop of successful as well negative experiences of the participants for hastening up of the process of mainstreaming SRI method in rice cultivation as part of achieving food security while reducing water conflicts in the country.
The initial preparatory work is under way now and the official invitation along with symposium brochure will be sent to you all in the first week of July. This is an advance invitation to alert you all on this forthcoming event, and encourage you to gear up to participate in the forthcoming important national event on SRI.
All the prospective authors will receive the draft agenda and guidelines soon. I also request you all to provide a) your specific suggestions for the agenda of the symposium b) how best we can use the time there to achieve maximum benefits c) paper or poster sharing your experience and d) would like to know if you would like to contribute in any way for improving on the quality of symposium based on our previous experiences.
Please do let me know at the earliest and feel free to contact me or Dr. V. Vinod Goud (email@example.com) for further clarifications / additional information.
A partners meeting is proposed in the first week of August2008. During this week, all details of the symposium will be finalised. For the partners meeting, your inputs are most welcome.
Let us all once again work together to make the 3rdNational Symposium on SRI a GREAT SUCCESS!
Dr. Biksham Gujja
Senior Policy Advisor
Special Project Scientist & Team Leader
Andhra Pradesh, India