Actionable Policy Options for Scaling-Up System of Rice Intensification for Ensuring Higher Productivity, Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Rice Production
Senior Scientist(Ag.Economics), ICAR-IIRR, Hyderabad, India-500030
Correspondence author email: Nirmala.B@icar.gov.in
Globally, India stands first in rice area and second in rice production. To feed the growing population, rice production has to be increased amid strong competition for limited resources including land. Also, concerns have been raised about yield gaps in rice. The system of rice intensification is one of the strategies to narrow the yield gaps. Rice is the major crop in India, therefore, the identification of an energy-efficient rice cultivation system is important to food security and sustainable intensification (SI). Hence, a comparison was made between conventional and the system of rice intensification (SRI) methods of rice cultivation by conducting two experiments. One field experiment was conducted from 2013 to 2017 at 25 locations across India under the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project and another experiment was conducted in 2017 using surveys by collecting data from 262 randomly selected SRI farmers using a personal interview method in the Telangana state of India. The 5-year experimental data revealed that the SRI method of cultivation produced higher rice grain yield (up to 55%) compared to the conventional transplanting method. Survey data revealed that total costs of rice production reduced by 22.71% under SRI. Break even output under SRI was reduced by 58.1%. Adoption of SRI saved total energy inputs by 4350 MJ/ ha. The energy productivities were 0.16 kg/MJ and 0.21 kg/MJ for conventional and SRI methods, respectively. Therefore, for ensuring higher productivity, net returns, energy efficiency and sustainable rice production it is recommended to adopt an environmentally friendly SRI method of crop establishment in the Telangana region of India. Based on the constraints as perceived by the farmers, policy options for scaling up of SRI are suggested.