Producing More with Less: Promoting System of Rice Intensification, SRI and Up scaling Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative, SSI

AgSri has developed and tested SSI successfully and promoting SRI for last 7 years. Now, we wants to improvise the methods and promote them.

Photo of Biksham Gujja
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

AgSri Agricultural Services Private Limited

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 1,000 - 5,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

AgSri Agricultural Services Pvt. Ltd. SLN Terminus, # 4-51 / L4-05 Kondapur Road Hyderabad – 500032 Telangana

Location(s) of impact

India: Solapur and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra; Zaheerabad in Telangana; Belgaum and Nanjangud in Karnataka Kenya: Kakamega, Kisumu


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Improving the productivity of major irrigated crops like paddy and sugarcane with less water is a major global challenge. AgSri has successfully demonstrated three things a) opportunity to improve productivity b) significantly reducing seed rate, water and inorganic fertilisers and c) creating new rural jobs particularly for women, all at the same time. AgSri also clearly established that SRI and SSI are accepted by farmers and they are willing to be change makers.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

System of Rice Intensification, SRI Farmers will save water, seed and fertilisers while improving the productivity. It also improves the soil fertility and the quality of paddy grains. Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative, SSI This is a game changer in sugarcane cultivation. Farmers plant between 8-10 t/ha as seed cane depending on climate soil. In SSI, per hectare about 12,500 seedlings are planted with 5X2 feet spacing which produce 8-15 productive tillers. SSI saves significantly seed cane, saves at least 25% of water applied to crop, improves productivity by 20% or more, and reduces the inorganic fertilisers. Point of departure is to plant one-month old seedlings instead of raw seed cane buried in the ground. AgSri has developed, standardized high quality seedlings production while creating new employment for women in rural areas. Also, AgSri has tested the validity and willingness of farmers to shift to this method in all agro-climatic zones in India and few areas in Africa.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

AgSri has trained more than 3,000 farmers on SRI methodology and practices. Also guides in establishing high quality nurseries and providing simple tools (marker and weeder) to SRI farmers. In SSI, production of seedlings requires mid-level employees like technicians and field managers. So, there is creation of local jobs. Also, it requires daily labour. The work is relatively easy but requires certain type of skills, which are inherently advantageous to women and provides employment opportunities for local women. SSI requires less water, so it is likely that less water is withdrawn for agriculture at a catchment level. Since less cane is used for seed, more cane can be used for more productive use. This will add to the national wealth. The process of removing buds, allows for the excess cane to help the supply of cane to Artisanal sugar makers for making raw sugar, which is consumed locally. This increases the local employment and keeps traditional knowledge alive.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

AgSri has raised initial capital from friends and families. AgSri raised human capital in kind (promoters and staff contribution). AgSri, received awards in the form of support to farmers in order to test the SSI & SRI methodologies. AgSri have specific contracts to test SSI methodology from factories in the form of local support and also creating markets. Financial support for FY 2016-17 is 38.5% from grants, 60.5% from earned income and 1% from other. The farmers who are cultivating sugarcane will be the clients and over period of type, like any other seed company, AgSri will be selling high quality seedlings to the farmers. As farmers are expected to save on the sugarcane crop, he would be willing to buy seedlings which are cost beneficial after including the ever rising labour costs.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

AgSri is the first company in India (and in the world) to start production of seedlings on commercial basis to supply to the farmers. It is a new concept, developed by AgSri. Until now farmers were burying large quantities of canes as seed. Planting one-month old seedlings instead of seed cane is a new and currently AgSri is the only company, which is engaged in this business. AgSri is providing an opportunity for farmers to produce more paddy and sugarcane with less inputs.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Talari Manaiah is a sugarcane farmer from Medak District in Telangana. He undertook SSI in one acre on trial and followed conventional method of cane planting in 3 acres. He used 5,000 seedlings of Co 86032 variety and planted at a distance of 5X2 ft. The tillering count recorded was an average 12 tillers in the SSI field whereas about 7 tillers in conventional per clump. There was good growth all through the crop period and each cane weighed about 1.5 to 2.2 kg in the SSI field with an average cane height of about 9.5 feet. Whereas conventional field yielded 38 tons of cane, the yield from one acre of SSI field was 62 tons. He says, “I am very glad to have learnt this new method of cane cultivation. Just as other SSI farmers, I was able to cut down on my cultivation costs. What makes me very satisfied as a farmer is that I was able to make almost double the profit from the SSI yield."

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Participated in previous CSV Prize competitions
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Attachments (10)


System of Rice Intensification, Experiences of Farmers in India


SSI: Improving yields and reducing ecological footprint



Producing more with less - IRRI_FAO.pdf

Producing more with less: exploring farm-based approaches to improve productivity and providing options to farmers in adapting to climate change

SRI issue 6 (17-05-09).pdf

Special Edition: SRI Newsletter

SRI report.pdf

Transforming Rice Production with SRI (System of Rice Intensification) Knowledge and Practice

SSI-Current Science.pdf

SSI in CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 100, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2011


Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI): A Methodology of ‘More with Less’

AgSri_SSI casestudy book_low res15-03-12.pdf

SSI Farmers case study book

AgSri_SSI manual 2012 low res_3.pdf

A detail manual on SSI methodology and practices

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Pamela Quino Ramos

Hola Biksham Gujja , una propuesta muy interesante la que nos muestras.
Te invito a conocer la propuesta de Valor Compartido titulada Mejora del Aprovechamiento Sostenible de los Recursos Hídricos en San Pedro de Casta.