SRI is a farmer-centred innovation that originated in Madagascar in the mid-1980s. SRI methods have since been introduced in almost 50 countries, including major rice producers like India, China, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Based on the experience from Madagascar, several SRI core components were developed, including early transplanting, single seedlings, wide spacing and intermittent irrigation (see Table below). Sometimes additional components are recommended, including organic fertilisation and regular weeding, among others. Weeding is more important in SRI than in conventional rice production, because weeds spread more rapidly under non-flooded conditions.

Adoption of SRI in Timor Leste

In Timor Leste, the System of Rice Intensification has been introduced since 2007 through a programme jointly implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Timorese Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The rice sector in Timor Leste is constrained by low levels of mechanisation, insufficient irrigation and weak transport infrastructure.