With the support of the private sector, farmers in the Dominican Republic have been working to mechanize the transplanting process and the weeding to overcome this obstacle
One of the major challenges associated with implementation of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in the Americas is the scarcity and high cost of labor needed to transplant young, healthy rice plants and to weed the fields, since flooding is discouraged. With the support of the private sector, farmers in the Dominican Republic have been working to mechanize the transplanting process and the weeding to overcome this obstacle.
In Colombia, the first trial of SRI in the field of smallholders produced excellent results. The major challenge, as expected, was the need for a lot of manual labor, principally for weed removal. Machinery was recently imported from South Korea, arriving at La Tolima, Saldana in early June to where the validation parcels are located. An expert from IICA, Diddier Moreira, traveled to Tolima to help the team there set up, calibrate, and test the equipment. Two different types of motorized weeders, an automatic seeder to fill trays, and a transplanter were adjusted to meet the specifications of SRI. The results are very promising and both the farmers and technicians are excited to employ the machinery in the next cycle.
The project Cultivate More with Less: Adaptation, validation and promotion of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in the Americas as a response to climate change is being implemented by a consortium of IDIAF, CONIAF, FEDEARROZ and IICA. The project is supported by FONTAGRO and the GEF.
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*The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and they do not reflect the position of the Institute on the topics presented.