The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) has adopted the world’s latest rice seeds production technology with targets to improve paddy production in the country.
Dubbed ‘Rapid Generation Advance Technology’ (RGA) system, the high technology has been introduced in the country for the maiden time by the seed breeding institute at its Morogoro-based Dakawa center.
RGA is a breeding approach that uses single seed descent (SSD) as the breeding method in a small screen house or glasshouse space.
Using RGA could save a lot of valuable land space (around 90 percent) and shorten the time period for developing breeding lines by at least two or three years as compared to the pedigree method.
With the new technology, the center which is designated to undertake thorough rice seeds research and production will now stand on a more professional side to shorten seed breeding cycle and quality.
Barnabas Sitta, the Plant Breeder at TARI Dakawa Centre, said among others, the technology will now enable the facility to innovate, produce, register and release into the market improved seeds varieties within a short period of three years.
He was speaking during a special media tour of the center in Morogoro region.
“Formally, due to diverse technological handicaps, the general rice seeds breeding cycle used to take up to seven years,” he observed.
Adoption of the RGA technology, according to him, is part of strategies by the center to produce high-yielding varieties in order to help maximizing production and productivity among the farmers in the sector.
Working under the theme of ‘Breeding for High Yielding, Grain Quality and Resistance to Biotic Stress’, Sitta expressed that the center is targeted to place Tanzania at the continental rice production stage.
“Our researches are solution- based ones, aiming to hatch disease free climate change resilient rice seeds varieties,” he said.
He expounded that, the general ambition is to introduce to the farmers the seeds with recommended plant heights and maturity duration.
Sitta detailed, through close working ties with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Advanta Seeds Africa and the Korea -Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI).
The center was producing the rice seeds with high grain quality and aroma as well as milling recovery, saying: “These are among the prerequisite qualities when it comes to international rice markets,” he insisted.
Ngabo Pamba, the research assistant at the Center said so far, they have succeeded to innovate and released into the market the TXD306 seed, the crowd- puller rice variety which is currently favored by most farmers.
“The variety flourishes well in irrigated lowland, rain fed lowland, and upland ecosystems, and has the maturity duration of between 120 and 125 days and plant height of around 95 to 100 centimeters, whereby the yield capacity is at 7 to 8.5 tons per hectares,” he detailed.
In his general remarks, Dr Jerome Mghase, TARI Dakawa Center Manager, said Tanzania is currently topping the rice production sector within East and Central Africa (EAC).
“From the year 2020, Tanzania has been selected as the Regional Rice Center of Excellence (RRCE), by the Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (AAPP), the robust project which has played a significant role to spur rice production in the country,” he started.