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Model Summary Activity “Farmers’ Participation in Cultivating System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Rice Variety Selection”

In the framework of the Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program (VFD), from June 2014 to September 2015, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), in collaboration with the Agricultural Extension Station of Thuong Xuan district, Thanh Hoa province, deployed the model "Farmers' participation in cultivating system of rice intensification (SRI) and rice variety selection" in the Van Xuan commune, Thuong Xuan district. The project aims to contribute to local authorities' community support in low emission rice cultivation (SRI) to ensure local food security and reduce the pressure in forest protection and management which are affected by climate change.

In particular, the main objectives of the project are: raising awareness and increasing knowledge for farmers on SRI and rice variety selection through the Farmer Field School (FFS); supporting farmers in selecting and storing pure rice varieties; and organizing the training of trainers (ToT) courses on SRI and rice variety comparison for the grassroots agricultural extension officers of the Xuan Chinh, Xuan Le and Van Xuan communes.

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ToT course trainees practicing in the rice field of  Cang Khen village, Van Xuan commune

Based on the current state of cultivation and training needs assessment, the project focused on the group of farmers from the Van Xuan commune and the grassroots agricultural extension officers of the Xuan Le, Xuan Chinh, Van Xuan communes in participating in the field experiments. The KD18 variety is widely planted in the Van Xuan commune and was selected for inclusion in the SRI study to discover its density for transplanting, its suitable amount of fertilizer, and the best practices for the management of rice leaf folders through the application of SRI and IPM principles. For the studies to compare rice varieties, new rice varieties (CH22, CH19, M2, GL105) with desirable characteristics based on farmers' rice variety selection objectives like drought tolerance, pest resistance and productivity were crossbred and put in comparison with local variety (KD18) by the Field Crops Research Institute (FCRI). Under the guidance of experienced experts, 48 farmers learned and studied weekly in the rice field for 14 weeks. Twenty-three agricultural extension officers participated in the TOT courses and in 20 days, through hands-on methods, learned to apply the FFS method in field experiments and farmers training methods and skills.

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Farmers of the Quan village, Van Xuan commune, Thuong Xuan district, Thanh Hoa province learning in the field

In order to evaluate the results of the model, from September 30th to October 4th, SRD partnered with the Agricultural Extension Station of the Thuong Xuan district to organize an internal evaluation workshop and field workshop in the Van Xuan commune. The activities saw the participation of over 133 people, including representatives of the People’s Committees of the Xuan Chinh, Xuan Le, and Van Xuan communes and the Thuong Xuan district; the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, the Thuong Xuan Agricultural Extension Station, trainees of the ToT courses and farmers who participated in the model.

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Trainees and trainers discussing the rice variety assessment at the FFS in the Quan village

and the ToT courses in the Lum Nua village, Van Xuan Commune

Internal Evaluation: FFS and ToT course trainees assessed the model implementation and the results were very positive. In particular, 100% of trainees feel that the support in rice cultivation and rice variety selection locally are consistent with the needs and aspirations of local communities; 90% of trainees were compelled to change from their inefficient traditional rice cultivation habits to new cultivation methods (of which 50% answered that they felt confident in applying the new methods for family rice cultivation); 65.56% of the ToT trainees had markedly improved technical knowledge and awareness of new rice cultivation methods; and the majority of farmers chose the CH22 variety , which has the highest potential drought tolerance, pests resistance and productivity (6200-6500 kg/ha), to produce.

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The representatives of the field workshop listening to the trainees’ reports on the ToT

on rice variety comparison in the Lum Nua village, Van Xuan commune, Thuong Xuan district, Thanh Hoa province

The field workshop: The representatives visited fields and listened to the progress and results report by the ToT trainees on study selection, methodology, the allocation of field experiments, and finally the study results and recommendations for farmers in the Lum Nua village. As a result, the representatives had a better understanding of the implementation process and results of the model. They were able to contribute many useful comments for SRD about the scale of the model implementation, training duration, and potential to support the replication of the suitable model in each locale in the 2016 spring rice crop season.

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SRD’s expert discussing the replication plan for the 2016 spring rice crop season with

the agricultural extension officers from the three communes and the Agricultural Extension Station of Thuong Xuan district.

It is expected that in the 2016 spring season, SRD will coordinate with the Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Extension Station of the Thuong Xuan district in replicating the model in 10 villages of the Xuan Chinh, Xuan Le, and Van Xuan communes.

-SRD-

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