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Like other rice farmers in the Cambodian village of Peak Chiroat, Chay Dia had a year that started with promising rains but developed into a drought.

Chay Dia shared his experiences using a new method of planting rice.

Despite the poor conditions, Dia was able to harvest a good crop by following a farming method known as the “System of Rice Intensification” (SRI) that he learned from World Renew.

Dia learned SRI and other farming techniques through one of the farmer field schools World Renew started with funding from the Foods Resource Bank.

“Now that I’ve learned these new methods, I have been much more successful and motivated to try new things,” Dia said.

Using what he learned, he prepared his land and put compost on the seed bed to help the young seedlings grow strong. Then he was able to transplant them earlier in the year than he normally could have.

Traditionally after the replanting, Dia would fertilize the field with chemicals and wait for harvest. This time he weeded his field regularly and spread natural fertilizer to supplement the chemical ones.

Dia told World Renew that by using the SRI method he is able to use less seed, less labor, and less chemical fertilizer while getting a greater yield. World Renew compared Dia’s results with the harvest of his neighbor, who planted using traditional methods.

“The results spoke for themselves,” said World Renew-Cambodia staff member Rachel Brink: Dia’s crop was larger than the other farmer’s.

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