An impact study on System of Rice Intensification in Thiuvannamalai district

Thiruvannamalai district was formed on 30th September 1989 after bifurcation of North Arcod district. Agriculture is the main occupation of the district. The net area cultivated is about 67.6 %. The principle crops grown in the district are Paddy, Sugarcane and Groundnut Tanks and dug wells are the major source of irrigation in the district followed by canals. There are no perennial rivers in the district. Thiruvannamalai is one of the under developed districts with more than 50 % of the workers engaged in the non agricultural activities.

Among all the crops, the predominantly cultivated crop is paddy. Paddy is cultivated over an area of 108140 ha with an average yield of 5107 kg/ha. The predominant soil type is red.

Demo on N application based on the LCC

Demo on N application based on the LCC

Red series loam is found in all the taluks. Red series sand is found in all taluks, but predominantly in Thiruvannamalai, Chengam and Vandavasi taluks. Ferruginous loam and sandy loam is seen extensively throughout the district and black series loam is found in tank and river bed areas of Vandavasi and Cheyyar taluks. The mean annual rainfall of the district is 1067.0 mm.

Important Problems in paddy cultivation in Thiruvanamalai District
  1. Low productivity
  2. Improper planting method
  3. Improper nursery management
  4. Indiscriminate use of chemicals
  5. Availability and cost of labour
SRI as a potential solution to the problems of paddy farmers

Despite fluctuation in paddy yield in the Thiruvannamalai District, the farmers have been continuing the paddy cultivation as there is no suitable alternate crop to replace the paddy. In this context the system of Rice Intensification (SRI) came as a boom to increase the productivity of paddy. The progressive development in paddy cultivation is given below.

System of Rice Intensification – Time line

SRI is a method of increasing the yield of paddy production by using less water, low seed rate, wider spacing and younger seedlings. It was developed in 1983 by the French Jesuit father Hendri de Laulanie in Madagascar and not known outside Madagascar until 1997. Its potential is under testing China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Srilanka and India.

In Tamilnadu, SRI was taken up in both seasons in 2003. TNAU conducted 100 adaptive trials in Thambarabarani river basin. At the same time in Pondicherry under tank rehabilitation programme in Katterikuppam village SRI was undertaken in 4 acres and highest yield of 10 tonnes per hectare was obtained.

Farm advisory on grain maturity

Farm advisory on grain maturity

In 2003-04 TRRI of Adudurai conducted 94 adaptive trials in 50 villages. In August 2004 scaling up of SRI outside the research system begun in Tamilnadu for the first time through Department of Agriculture. SRI is promoted under ICDP –Rice with a target of 9000 acres.

Spread of SRI Technology

The KVK has implemented various programme to popularize SRI technology among the farmers of Thiruvannamalai district.

Advantage of SRI

SRI has the potential to increase the productivity of paddy with less water requirement and encourages rice plant to grow healthy with.

  1. Large root volume
  2. Profuse and strong tillers
  3. Non lodging
  4. Big panicle
  5. More and well – filled spike lets and higher grain weight
  6. Resists insects and allows rice to grow naturally
The Actual benefits of SRI are…
  • Higher yield of both grain and straw
  • Reduced duration (by 10 days)
  • Lesser chemical inputs
  • Less water requirement
  • Less chaffy grain
  • Increase in grain weight without changing grain size
  • Soil health improves through biological activities
SRI demonstration at KVK farm

In KVK we started our experiment on SRI in an area of 5 acres during Kharif 2004. Seedlings of different ages ranging from 12 to 20 days were transplanted with different spacing i.e. 25 x 25, 20 x 20, 40 x 40 cm on test basis. At the beginning planting was done with ropes. Transplanting of 12 days seedlings at 25 x 25 spacing was found to be the best with an yield of 8.25 tonnes/ha.

Steps taken by KVK to disseminate SRI technology

After several experiments conducted in our KVK farm, our scientists made various modifications in the SRI cultivation to suit the local condition. Instead of rope, rotary marker has been suggested for square planting which is more suited for SRI method. Trainings and field days have been conducted in our farm for its popularization.

During the Rabi 2005-06, KVK conducted SRI technology demonstrations in 10 farmers’ fields. KVK scientists provided technical guidance and conducted regular field visits, training programmes, video shows and field days. The result was satisfactory for the farmers.

In Rabi 2006-07, another 10 demonstrations have been conducted in Kayanallur village of Vandavasi block, KVK distributed Cono weeders and Rotary markers to the farmers. KVK is the pioneer in introducing Rotary marker in the district with a view to popularize the SRI technology KVK has been conducting several demonstrations, training programmes and various extension activities on SRI as detailed below.

Details of demonstrations conducted by the KVK
Details of training programmes conducted
Programmes conducted by the KVK, Thiruvannamalai

Programmes conducted by the KVK, Thiruvannamalai

Details of Extension activities
  1. Field visits : 1196
  2. Telephone : 1774
  3. Field day : 6 (Participants-342)
  4. Exposure visit : 13 (Participants-264)
Extension literature distributed
  • News letter : 3500 Nos
  • Booklets : 3700 Nos
  • Pamphlets : 5500 Nos
  • Leaflets : 7000 Nos

Apart from KVK’s own activities, KVK scientists are regularly participating in various activities conducted by the line departments i.e. seminars, farmers interest group meetings, ATMA activities, FFS etc., and encouraging the adoption of SRI technology.


The KVK Thiruvannamalai has played a major role in popularizing SRI technology through various extension methods like trainings, demonstrations and exposure visits etc., in Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu. Overall the paddy is cultivated in SRI method in an area of 61,150 ha in the district. The productivity of the paddy has been increased to 7.75 t/ha instead of 5.56 t/ha compared to the conventional method. The paddy cultivation has become more remunerative for many of the farmers in the district.

Details of impact analysis

We have used the following tools in order to study the impact of the KVK activities.

  1. Village level survey
  2. Group discussion with farmers
  3. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)
  4. Questionnaire
  5. Discussion with the ex-trainees on the suitability and adoption nature of specific technologies and the comparative economics of the latest technologies with local practices.