When it comes to rice production Tanzania tops the bill among the seven East African Countries.
But the country, which currently produces an average of 2.2 million tons per year, ranks at number four on the African continent after Nigeria, Madagascar and Ivory Coast.
Now Tanzania is working to double its rice output to an annual 4.4 million tons by the year 2030.
Agricultural experts are working with rice growers to develop flood resisting seeds to reinforce the sector in the
Apparently, more than 70 percent of paddy farms in Tanzania operated under rain-fed type of agriculture.
Rice farming is undertaken by 240,000 growers, mostly small-scale farmers.
The International Rice Research Institute and the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute are jointly engaging rice growers in Morogoro to participate in research activities and adoption of submergence rice seed technologies in the region.
The aim is to elevate rice productivity. The starchy cereal grain grown in the central Tanzania Region serves as both food and cash crop in the country.
For the project the two institutions, IRRI and TARI are working with more than thirty participants, including smallholder farmers, agricultural extension workers, and agro-dealers participating in the special training on submergence rice technologies.
The introductory training event to that effect was held at the Dakawa Center for Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute at (TARI).
It was attended by farmers from the Dakawa Irrigation Scheme based at Mvomero District, Morogoro Region.
Ngabo Pamba, is the TARI research assistant at the Dakawa Center.
“The training impacts knowledge and innovative ideas for farmers to be able to develop resilient seeds that can withstand hostile conditions such as diseases and drought but especially floods common in the area,” he says.
Researchers have finally realized that participating rice farmers in research activities was a promised way for them to adopt the best agronomic practices and technologies.
The proposed improved rice kernels to be generated will feature high yields, tolerance to flooding and other weather elements, palatable taste and the usual trademark floating aroma.
Last year the center in collaboration with the Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) conducted a special training on Mutation and Breeding (MB) initiatives to help speed up rice breeding programs in the country.
Rice is grown in three major ecosystems in Tanzania, the rain-fed lowlands and uplands, as well as under special irrigated systems.
The area under rice cultivation increased from about 0.39 million hectares in 1995 to about 0.72 million hectares by 2010.
Production increased from about 0.62 million tons in 1995 to about 1.33 million tons of paddy rice in 2009 but dropped to 1.10 million tons in 2010.