Rice Farming Practices to Improve Efficient Use of Water
Reducing the vulnerability of small rice producers in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama through technological innovations and collaboration platforms was the central objective of the project. Specific actions emphasized food security and adaptation to climate change through efficient practices, related -in particular- to water and soil resources.The modality of the system of rice intensification (SRI) used was the organic version, attempting to minimize the use of agrochemicals and thus protecting soil health and beneficial flora.
In Panama, SRI plots were compared with conventional transplant methods and in Costa Rica and Nicaragua SRI plots were compared with traditional planting systems known as “espeque” or “chuzo”. The SRI plots received organic fertilizers at the time of land leveling. The transplant was performed with seedlings between 8 to 10 days after germination, placing one every 25 centimeters between plants and 25 centimeters between rows. Intermittent irrigation was the water management system performed in the plots.
The socialization and training component included Field Schools (ECA) and participatory workshops with group techniques such as discussion maps, surveys, brainstorming and rapid diagnostics.
Research conducted on small plots and excess rainfall that -in several cases- made it difficult to measure water use efficiency, does not allow to reach definitive conclusions regarding the SRI system under this project, however results do show positive trends that clearly indicate the SRI potential in the region.
Producer surveys indicate that 48% of them depends on external income (wages, subsidies) and that family farming is the main source of food. About 68% of the rice produced is destined to family consumption and close to 70% of producers obtain very low yields.
The results include the activation of collaboration platforms in the three countries; the training of 10 technicians in the design and analysis of baselines; a 45.6% and 42.8% increase in yields in Costa Rica and Nicaragua respectively and enhanced water use efficiency of 17% and 52% in Panama and Nicaragua. Results also highlight the good performance of SRI plots in relation to the attack of diseases to foliage, panicles and grains, considering that no chemical products were applied.
A total of 575 producers were trained or informed about the SRI
Sustainable Development Goals
- Instituto de Innovación Agropecuaria de Panamá (IDIAP) - Panamá
- Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Costa Rica
- Instituto Nicaragüense de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) - Nicaragua