The Intensified Rice Cultivation System (SICA) is a method of growing rice that produces significantly more fruitful crops with the planting of far fewer seedlings and the use of fewer inputs than any traditional method (e.g., the flood) or more “modern” (use fertilizer or agrochemicals). This approach involves using various practices to manage plants, soil, water, and nutrients. SICA has been successful in being used in various countries and has been promoted extensively by Dr. Norman Uphoff with Cornell University.

What is SICA?

SICA involves the use of a combination of management practices that optimize the conditions for growing rice plants, particularly in the root zone. It was developed in Madagascar in the early 1980s by Father Henri de Laulaníe, a Jesuit father who spent more than 30 years working with farmers in that country. In 1990, the Association of Tefy Saina (ATS) was founded as a Malagasy NGO to promote SICA. Four years later, the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development (CIIFAD) began collaborating with Tefy Saina to introduce SICA around Ranomafana National Park in eastern Madagascar, backed by the US agency for international development. Since then,

The results with the SICA methods are surprising (see Table 1 and thoughts from Ryan Haden, see “Can you agree on the benefits of SICA?”, For additional perspective on returns). In Madagascar, on some of the poorest soils found and where harvests of 2 t / ha were normal, farmers using SICA now produce an average of more than 8 t / ha, with some producing 10–15 t / ha. Some of them have even produced more than 20 t / ha. In other parts of the country, over a five-year period, hundreds of farmers produced an average of 8–9 t / ha.

  1. Seedlings are sown early. Rice seedlings are transplanted when only the first two leaves have emerged from the initial cane or stem, usually when they are between 8 and 15 days old (Fig 1). The seedlings should be grown in a nursery in which the soil has been kept moist but without standing water. During transplanting the seedlings, carefully remove them from the nursery soil with a trowel and keep them moist. Do not let them dry. The sack of seeds (the remainder of a germinated seed) must be kept attached to the infant root, because it is an important source for the young seedling. Seedlings should be transplanted as soon as possible after being removed from the nursery – within half an hour and preferably within 15 minutes. When placing the seedlings in the field, carefully place the roots laterally into the ground in a horizontal motion, so that the root tip is not inadvertently pointing up (such a mistake happens when the seedlings are dipped directly into down on the ground). The root tip needs to be able to grow downward. Carefully transplanting seedlings when they are very young reduces shock and increases the plants’ ability to produce numerous stems and roots during the vegetative stage of growth and know about thresher machine price in india. Rice grains are eventually produced in the tassels (ie, the grain “ears” above the cane, produced by fertile canes). More canes result in more panicles, and with SICA methods, more grain is produced in each panicle. carefully put the roots laterally into the soil in a horizontal motion, so that the root tip is not inadvertently pointing up (such a mistake happens when the seedlings plunge directly down into the soil). The root tip needs to be able to grow downward. Carefully transplanting seedlings when they are very young reduces shock and increases the plants’ ability to produce numerous stems and roots during the vegetative stage of growth. Rice grains are eventually produced in the tassels (ie, the grain “ears” above the cane, produced by fertile canes). More canes result in more panicles, and with SICA methods, more grain is produced in each panicle. Carefully put the roots laterally into the soil in a horizontal motion, so that the root tip is not inadvertently pointing up (such a mistake happens when the seedlings plunge directly down into the soil). The root tip needs to be able to grow downward.
  2. Seedlings are planted one at a time rather than in clumps. This means that individual plants have enough room to spread and root. They don’t compete as much with each other for space, light, or nutrients in the soil. The root systems become totally different when the plants are placed individually, and when the following practice is followed:
  3. Plant with wide spaces. Instead of narrow rows, the seedlings are planted in a square pattern with plenty of space between them in all directions. They are usually spaced at least 25 x 25 cm (Fig 2). Feel free to experiment because the optimal spacing (producing the maximum number of fertile canes per square meter) depends on the soil structure, soil fertility, humidity, and other conditions. The general rule of thumb is that plants should have plenty of room to grow. If you also use the other practices mentioned here, it will rarely be better to plant closer than 20 x 20 cm. The maximum yields have been achieved in good soil with the measurement of 50 x 50 cm, with only four plants per square meter.

    To space the plants carefully (which makes weeding easier), twigs can be placed at suitable intervals (eg, every 25 cm) around the edge of the field, then stretch twine between them. The strings should be marked at equal intervals so that you can plant in a square pattern. Leaving wide spaces between each plant ensures that the roots have adequate room to grow, and the plants will be exposed to more sunlight, air, and nutrients. The result is increased root growth (and thus better nutrient absorption and more panicles). The square design also makes weeding easier.

 

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