THE System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method, a low water, labour intensive planting method using young singly space seedlings and hand tools, will be introduced in Shwebo District, Sagaing to grow Shwebo Pawsan premium rice strains by United Nilar Agribusiness Co. Ltd. and the Sagaing Region Agricultural Department.
The SRI method is designed to reduce reliance on pesticides and to increase yields by keeping fields continuously saturated to promote aerobic soil organisms, by optimally spacing plants to maximize light exposure and by transplanting seedlings by hand when they are less than two weeks old and have only shallow roots to reduce shock to the plants.
To cultivate the Shwebo Pawsan in Sagaing Region, the Agricultural department and the United Nilar Agribusiness will apply SRI to 20 acres of paddy fields in Shwebo Township, 10 acres in Tabayin Township, 10 acres in Ye-U Township and 10 acres in Wetlet Township. The United Nilar Agribusiness will provide pesticides worth Ks300,000 free of charge to local farmers.
U Myint Kyi, an agricultural consultant from United Nilar Agribusiness, said that rice farmers used to apply pesticides to reduce insect infestation but since international markets often balk at use of toxic chemicals on edible crops farmers will now experiment with SRI.
“Local farmers will also see the effect of growing paddy with SRI when compared with other paddy fields,” U Myint Kyi said. “The pesticides can control the insects. Paddy yields also increase when using SRI. The local farmers agree to grow the monsoon paddy with SRI because they have already seen the effect of the summer paddy. Our company will help the local farmers starting from sowing the seeds till harvest.”
U Myint Kyi said that farmers will have a choice between using more pesticides or reducing their use in favour of SRI methods. Local farmers cultivated 2.50 acres of summer paddy using the fertilizer and pesticides in March at the Zeegone village, Shwebo Township.
By Soe Win (MLA)