SRI is an unusual instance where extension has taken a lead over research. The scientific community is still debating SRI, collecting data in the process of scientifically validating its performance. Such process is at different levels in different countries. There are some institutions, which are still not convinced about its merit. However, the visual evidence of improved crop performance due to the new practices in farmers states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, etc. Taking cognizance of enthusiasm of farmers and adoption results, many research institutes across the country have also started conducting trials on various aspects of SRI method. There seems to be a wide range of experiences from bad to good among farmers and scientists.
At this juncture, a need was strongly felt to share, synthesize and document the experiences, good or bad, farmers methods at national level. Such a get-together has great potential for achieving convergence of ideas based on field experiences of farmers, civil society and scientists to look critically at the results to assess the performance of SRI methods. This first national symposium on SRI methods of rice cultivation was organized on 17-18th November 2006, inviting scientists, Government officials, NGO promoters and practitioners, and critics of SRI from across the country, with the following specific objectives: