With SRI being practiced in different agro-climatic zones at national level, a continuous effort to share, synthesize and document the experiences while articulating opportunities and constraints to up-scale SRI is important.
The First National Symposium on SRI was organised in November 2006 at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The national dialogue hosted by Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) with support from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), brought farmers, scientists, and civil society organisations together for the first time in India.
Built on the success of the first one, the Second National Symposium on SRI held at Agartala, Tripura in October 2007 was further expanded to the policy makers, and was instrumental in generating interest among government, banks and private trusts to invest in SRI by directly supporting the farmers in many states. For one, these events brought together a diverse group of concerned individuals and agencies to share the experiences, concerns, constraints, farmers’ innovations, research priorities and policy directions that can enhance adoption and up scaling of SRI methods to attain food security and improve the livelihoods of rural households, especially the poor and the marginal, while avoiding further stress on the water resources that are critical for the future of ecosystems.
The events motivated many researchers and research institutes to initiate experimental trials on SRI across the country and facilitated networking of like minded individuals and agencies for cross sharing of experiences and training support to propagate SRI in new areas. The most significant outcome is the inclusion of SRI method in National Food Security Mission (NFSM) as one of the option to improve productivity of rice in the country.
Representatives of Government agencies and departments clearly emphasized how they ‘want SRI to be made centre-stage’. They also clearly laid out their plans for National Food Security Mission vis-à-vis SRI practices and also noted that SRI has to be encouraged with relevance to local conditions and simultaneously engaging the local bodies in its promotion.
The two symposiums paved way for an annual SRI event that has become an important national platform to strengthen SRI movement in the country.