News Column

Research Helps Mvomero Farmers Double Rice Production

June 5, 2014

Orton Kiishweko

FARMERS in Mvomero District have doubled rice production from four to eight tonnes per acre following innovation produced by researchers at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).

The innovation involves moving away from traditional methods and producing more food with less water which is one of the main challenges facing irrigated agriculture.

SUA researchers have done it under a mechanism known as system of Rice Intensification (SRI) project, funded by Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) aimed at investigating the performance of System of Rice Intensification.

Speaking to the 'Daily News,' various farmers reported having their production doubling and as a result improving quality of their lives. A farmer from Mkindo Village, Athumani Kazumba, said that the project had been effective and efficient in seeds and water management in their rice farms.

He said they started in 2012 with the days of planting rice seeds reducing from 21 days to only eight days, and reducing amount of rice seeds and water utilization in their fields.

A peasant, Costa Kongo, commended initiatives being taken by the government saying if COSTECH injected more funds into the project to reach more farmers, the district would attain food self-sufficiency.

Another farmer, Stamili Kassimu, urged the government to give priority to women especially the elderly so that they benefit from the project.

The farmers, however, said there was need to improve the district's irrigation infrastructure to scale up production and ensure reliable markets for the farmers.

He said they have received education on SRI, adding that because of its importance, there should be deliberate efforts to train other farmers so they can raise rice productivity and income.

A technical personnel of the project from Mvomero District Council, Jackson Kimodi, said that the farmers should make sure that they comply with rules stipulated by ensuring that their irrigation systems are clean throughout the rice growing season.

He said the good results are part of Big Results Now (BRN) because through SRI they have been able to increase production from four to eight tonnes per hectare.

The National Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB), Tanzania chapter operating under COSTECH, Mr Philbert Nyinondi , said that there are 56 projects funded by COSTECH through public funds.

He said the projects are implemented by local scientists using government funds, confirming many of the projects as doing well. COSTECH has funded some 56 projects from 30 research institutes and universities across the country.

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Source: AllAfrica

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