Professor Norman Uphoff Meets with the Organic Farmers in Cambodia

On April 04th, 2013, Professor Norman Uphoff, one of the leading figures in the development of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), attended an organic farmers workshop organized by CEDAC at its main office in Phnom Penh. During the workshop, Professor Uphoff presented to 50 organic rice producers and promoters from ten provinces on SRI adoption around the world.

According to Professor Norman Uphoff, the SRI`s phenotypic benefits have been observed in more than 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He said that “The benefits of SRI are not only related to increased yields, but also include water conservation, resistance to climate stresses, resistance to pest and disease, reduced production costs, higher milling output, shorter crop cycle, improved grain quality and more.”

During the workshop, CEDAC President, Dr. Yang Saing Koma presented on the principle ideas of SRI, including:

  • Changing the ways/methods to manage the soil, water, nutrient, seed, and rice plant.
  • Recognizing the latent potential of rice plants (existing local varieties), as well as that of farmers and micro-organisms to help the rice plant reach its potential.
  • Starting with what farmer have on hand and what they can do themselves rather than depending on outsiders and external resources (increase level of self-confidence and self-empowerment).
  • Learning about how rice grows, and analyzing current practices that favor or limit the optimal growth of rice plants under the existing conditions.
  • Making a list of own improved practices for farmers to implement.
  • Applying improved practices together to create a synergy effect (the more practices are improved, the better the results).

Dr. Koma stressed the following methods or principals for farmers to focus on: Seed selection, handling and storage; Seedling cultivation and selection; Age of seedlings; Number of seedlings; Spacing and plant density; Depth of transplanted root; Water level in the field; Weeding (timing and frequency); Use of compost (quantity and quality); Field leveling.

Following this workshop, Prof Norman Uphoff attended in the National Farmer Conference organized by the Ministry of Forest and Fisheries (MAFF) at Royal University of Agriculture on 5th April, during which he presented a certification of appreciation to the MAFF’s Minister, H.E. Chan Sarun for his contribution to SRI in Cambodia.