Thursday, 23 August 2012

Working with smallholder farmers for increased rice productivity: The Sulawesi experience

IRRI Seminar

By Madonna Casimero
Senior scientist (agronomy)
Crop and Environmental Sciences Division

1315-1415 H, Thursday, 30 August 2012
Havener Auditorium, IRRI

Video of seminar on Ustream (58:03) 
Seminar slides on Scribd


Rice is a major commodity for the Indonesian economy and food security for its 240 million people. The Indonesian government launched the National Rice Production Increase Program to raise rice production by 5% annually and to increase efficiency and productivity of rice farmers. Majority of the rice farmers are smallholders, farming less than one hectare. Though the national average is about 5 t/ha, rice farmers in eastern Indonesia lag behind those in the western region in terms of yield and productivity. The government continues to seek ways to boost productivity of lagging farmers and close the gap between national rice production and demand.

The research was conducted for three years with smallholder rice farmers from four villages in the lowland irrigated areas in South Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi to identify, locally adapt, and evaluate crop management practices to increase productivity for smallholders by at least 10%. We followed a farmer participatory approach which involved four core activities:
  • Building partnerships
  • Learning from the farmers
  • Learning with the farmers
  • Farmer education
The combination of scientific investigation in the participatory adaptive research and hands-on experiential learning in the farmer field school stimulated innovation and built a sense of ownership of the natural resource management (NRM) options among farmers as they created solutions to their agronomic problems and modified both new technologies and their own practices to take advantage of opportunities brought by new NRM technologies.

The results:
  • Farmers increased their rice yields by 0.5 to 1 t/ha
  • Farmers increased their income by about two fold
  • Evident positive social and economic impacts
  • Diffusion of NRM technologies to improve rice production practices of other farmers 


IRRI Seminars are a forum for invited IRRI staff and guests to present information and their opinions on topics relevant to international rice research and the work of IRRI.

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