The increasing impacts of climate change and the demand for food threaten the productive and service capacity of agro-ecosystems. Consequently, adoption of irrigation alternatives that enhance water use efficiency in crop production is vital. The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) increases crop water productivity through intermittent wetting and drying of rice paddies, under specific soil and agronomic management practices. The main objective of this study was to determine the level of adoption, replication and up-scaling of SRI practices among rice farmers in three western Kenya irrigation schemes. The study used the Farmers Field Schools (FFS) strategy for extending SRI practices to the farmers and optimizing crop water productivity using reduced inputs. Two FFS sites were identified from among individual farmers’ fields in each of the three irrigation schemes (Ahero, Bunyala and West Kano). Individual irrigation scheme farmers’ participation involved Ahero (40), Bunyala (50) and West Kano (52), respectively. The results indicate a steady increase of 18 percent of farmers from 120 farmers during the second year to 142 farmers by the end of the third year of the project work. Comparison of SRI and conventional rice growing reveals that the SRI strategy leads to higher grain yield through increase in numbers of effective tillers per hill as opposed to the conventional system. Rice production costs under SRI when compared to the conventional system are also much lower due to reduced amount of seedlings and its lower water demands. The need for systematic promotion of SRI as an integrated approach is recommended.
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RUFORUM Working document series