Dr Chusnul Arif: The SRI Method is a Solution for Paddy Cultivation in the Middle of Climate Change

Climate change is a global phenomenon that should be watched out for and anticipated. This phenomenon is even said to have a bigger impact than the COVID-19 pandemic. For example drought, landslides, to forest fires. There needs to be mitigation and adaptation efforts to deal with climate change, including the agricultural sector, namely in rice cultivation.

Indonesian farmers still rely on large amounts of standing water in rice cultivation. Even though this can cause emissions of greenhouse gases and methane gas. Dr Chusnul Arif, Lecturer at IPB University from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Technology said that there is a lowland rice cultivation method that is able to overcome this. Namely the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method. He has studied and published related to the SRI method since 2008.

"The SRI system has been introduced in Madagascar to cultivate rice on dry land," he explained.
He explained, there are six principles in the SRI method. First, the seeds are young so they only need 7-14 days and can cut the seedling time. Second, rice is planted at a slightly wider distance to give space for the plants and their tillers to grow. Third, one hole is planted with one plant.
Fourth, he continued, irrigation systems are more effective with intermittent or intermittent methods. Fifth, intensive weeding to reduce weeds while increasing plant aeration. Sixth, it is highly recommended to use organic fertilizers to produce healthier products.

“The advantage, because the use of seeds is less, of course it is more economical. Water savings can also be up to 40 percent and because the conditions are drier, methane gas or its emissions can be reduced," he explained in the Civil and Environmental Engineering PodSIL (Civil and Environmental Engineering Podcast) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, IPB University.

He added, although this method is considered prospective, its application is still low because the mindset of farmers still prefers conventional methods. The introduction of the SRI method to farmers will certainly not be easy.

“Besides that, there are still pre- and post-harvest constraints. Selling organic products is considered to be more expensive and it is difficult to find the right market,” he continued.
In addition, he added, farmers still face various technical problems with agricultural infrastructure. In Indonesia, it is still difficult to find a machine that can plant seeds one by one more quickly. Machines to deal with weeds quickly also do not exist and irrigation infrastructure is not yet sophisticated.

"If at least 25 percent of paddy fields in Indonesia can be applied to the SRI method, I am sure this can increase national rice production so that it can be self-sufficient in rice," explained Dr Chusnul.

He revealed that there must be support from various parties, especially the government in terms of policy and infrastructure. Changes in the mindset of farmers must also be encouraged. Universities must also be able to become companions and collaborate with other parties.

"In my opinion, there must be an effort to increase the interest of the younger generation to get involved in the agricultural sector so that they can become the successors of agriculture through a change in mindset," he concluded. (MW/Zul)

Published Date : 25-Jan-2023

Resource Person : Dr Chusnul Arif

Keyword : IPB University Lecturer, Agriculture, Rice Cultivation, Expert