The Cordillera Studies Center (CSC) of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) held on August 29 a public lecture on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for the Cordillera Uplands at the College of Social Sciences Audio-Visual Room (CSS AVR).

 

      SRI is a sustainable method of growing rice that, if closely followed by farmers, will result in much more productive tillers and healthier roots. This involves simple methods such as transplanting of rice seedling on the two-leaf stage, planting one seedling on a 25 by 25 centimeter grid per hill, taking care of the rice seedling to avoid seedling damage, drying the soil intermittently, controlling weeds using a rotary weeder and using lots of compost instead of commercial fertilizers.

 

     Roberto Verzola, the SRI Pilipinas national coordinator delivered the lecture. He encouraged farmers to shift from their traditional practices by undertaking the SRI method in planting rice.

 

     He said SRI method promotes lower costs and debt-free farming, which will benefit poor farmers. In addition, SRI can be easily understood by farmers if properly explained and can improve their performance.

 

     Verzola also enumerated other benefits of SRI including climate change mitigation and adaptation. He said SRI reduces reliance of farmers on fossil-fuel based chemicals and thus promotes food security and mitigation of global warming.

 

     The lecture was attended by the Department of Agriculture Cordillera Administrative Region (DA CAR) representatives, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College representatives, as well as professors and students of UPB.  (JOYCE PASCUA)