SRI 2013 : Persidangan Kebangsaan Kedua SRI 11-13 Jun, 2013
Teks Ucaptama Prof. Dr Wan Mohtar Wan Yusoff, Pengerusi (Protem) SRI-Mas (Malaysian Agroecology Society for Sustainable Resource Intensification).
The Operation Framework for a Successful SRI Programme
Wan Mohtar Wan Yusoff
Keynote Address Persidangan SRI 2
11-13, Lumut, Perak. Malaysia
The acceptance of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in most countries has been lukewarm to the point of unexplained resistance by government agencies dealing with anything concerning the planting of rice. On the contrary, slow but strong acceptance to the point of becoming an obsession (Lirik Lagu Gile as testimony to this strong acceptance amongst SRI advocates in Malaysia) are detected in small scale rice planting communities across Selangor, Kelantan, Perak and several other states. They have been given much needed intensive academic support by researchers in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia and several others. Non-governmental organization especially Seacon, Felcra Training has been the main mover and several others are chipping in at a fast rate. Research institutions have been, up till now, taking a conservative approach but some local authorities are involved heavily on the ground especially in Selangor, at Sri Lovely, Kedah and at Tunjung, Kelantan. We at Sri-Mas, a non-governmental coalition of concerned researchers across Malaysian, are emboldened by strong support from several friends in the corporate sector and from the cooperative movement (having declared their readiness to market SRI rice). Strong resistance, albeit a cultural one, are also detected in operators of large scale rice plantation. This is quite understandable taking into account their vast acreage and interest-based investments. Clearly there are limits to the efficiency of SRI approach and this we fully agree. A 10-20 hectare small holdings have shown objectively verifiable data that the productivity have breached a 10ton per hectare goal. We are in possession of real-time data from Sri farmers across the ever increasing SRI farming acreage. The very short history of SRI-Mas, being just recently registered with the Registrar of Society having taken a quantum learning curve from vast experiences by SRI advocates in other countries, especially from our co-advocates in Indonesia, have armed us a much needed extensive and intensive appreciation of what needs to be done for a successful SRI operational framework. We present seven (7) steps to achieve such a going-uphill task of not only bringing to the attention of all concerns but to monitor and unsure a sustainable SRI approach to all rice farmers in Malaysia and beyond its shores.
End of abstract.
The seven operation framework for SRI (7OF-SRI) advocate
The mapping of this operational operation framework takes into account and appreciation of specific instances on the ground of operation (theatre of implementation) and the community dynamics that prevails. Nevertheless, the principles that forms the basis of 7OF-SRI transcends that geographical and community boundaries. The 7OF-SRI focusses on the transformation of vast acreages of the heart of the advocate and not the terrestrial acreage. We believe that once the heart is firm on an idea after witnessing the outcome, the expression of that idea in the physical manifestation is a matter of time and it may well take 23 years or more if we were to take note of the greatest transformation of man and his environs that our human history ever witnessed. That is the transformation of a barbaric form of human expression pre-Islamic times to the finest expression of the inherent nature of man during the age of letters, reason and intellectual explorations with validations exemplified during the times of Muhammad, Rasulullah sallallahualaihi wasallam (saw) and his companions. May Allah be pleased with them all. We draw from this finest example as we do not find any other. For the case of what needs to be done in the 7OF-SRI, first and foremost in the deal flows of SRI reawakening is to make a declaration, like declaring an article of faith, that SRI approach are to be implemented immediately with what little or much at hand. This point of saying and implementing the belief is the rate limiting step. That is, the step that defines all endeavor that comes after it. This declaration will immediately draws uncalled resistances from all parties (farmers, agencies that for decades have implemented non-SRI approaches, suppliers of seeds and chemicals, farm services operators, rice millers, rice distributors and even from non-SRI extension workers) that have anything to do with rice planting. The resistance may come in the form of a soft paddle that SRI approach is not a well- tested method, not scientifically proven and general not economic. A declaration to take the position of SRI draws the most sensitive response from neighboring farmer that are still spraying government subsidized pesticides with full protective clothing. Much concerns of own health safety, hence the full poison proof coverings but sadly little concerns that the changes in wind directions could potentially endanger their own children and the children of neighbors. For the record, and much has been recorded to-date, adverse skin rashes has been reported affecting farm hand that does the spraying due to spillage from knapsack sprayer. Alas, even those kind of human maladies do not deter the non-SRI farmers and/or agencies responsible for rural population healthcare. All of the above observations are assumed (worst still is the acceptance as taken) to be a part of the modern development in rice planting. All done in the name of progress. Such are the scale of resistance embedded in the minds of non-SRI farmers and advocates that SRI farmers and advocates have to appreciate and tackle. We thus believe that the tackling that needs to be done is at the heart of men and women farmers, researchers, legislators and consumers.
The second step is to persevere and endure the barrage of criticism meted against the self-declared SRI-person or the 6 approaches needed for a 100% SRI ranking. The Malay word for this state of being is sabr, which is really an Arabic word having the same literal and deep meanings. Sabr is an inner strength emanating from the very core of the declaration. The going uphill task is felt-less when one is in a pure state of sabr, fully aware of challenges ahead. We take note of harassment by loss business chemical suppliers (as SRI approach produce own bio-fertilizers and sell amongst SRI farmers) at farm hand and SRI extension officer level. Should no sense of sabr prevail, we envisage SRI advocates would give up and revert to business as usual.
The third step is to constantly remember your declaration, again and again as that would be the source energy point to fall back on. In time of stress and increased stress situation gone unattended, the gathering of strength to proceed with SRI would surely diminished. This step that stipulates constant remembrance to the declaration to become a successful SRI farmer is the neutralizer to manage stress at a level that do not interfere with operation. For a Muslim, the Arabic and Malay word for this neutralizing and civilizing step is termed dzikrullah. Armed with the constant dynamics of inwards and outwards activities very much like the practice of deep breathing, the fourth step becomes a natural progression, that is being thankful to being in the new state of realization about rice and its environ, new family orientation and new purpose. For Muslim we say shukranlillah. This state of thankfulness gathers the inner strength that would enable the SRI farmers to stay the course of completing all 6 requirements of SRI to become 100% SRI. This act of staying the course (istiqomah) will open up more doors for self and community empowerment within a networking framework. This stage of experiential learning and the manifestation of the goodness in SRI approaches will develop a situation where the dictum of prosper thy neighbor becomes expressed in its full form and function. The SRI and non SRI farmers will be in an integrative mode, albeit at an initial slow rate, and until acts of sadeka or khidmat becomes immersed in them. Thus paving the way to the 7th step of culturation of doing things as part of worship or ibada to the one-true Creator as the full expression of the implementation of Sunnahtullah (in all sincerity) bears its pristine reality.
We list below 5 things to do by SRI-Mas executive committee to support this operation framework to achieve a nationwide advocacy of SRI approach in a sustainable way.
1-To set-up register of SRI farmer
2- To set-up REAL ( recognization, accreditization, and licensing) initiative for SRI approaches.
3- To set-up SRI outreach task force involving researchers, farmers and legislators.
4- To set-up a nationally networked distribution centre for SRI rice to ensure realistic pricing.
5- To set-up an international forum for sharing of SRI advocacy.