(EA farmers are set to benefit from new rice high yielding and disease resistance varieties, Photo By KenanKalagho)Nkori Kibanda of the Regional Rice Center of Excellence at the Agriculture Research Institute (RRCoE), in Mbeya said Tanzania will soon release and distribute three rice varieties aimed at increasing the availability of food in the region.
This is part of the Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity Project aimed at curtailing the food security in the region through the introduction of research hubs in four regional respective regions.
Kibanda said the Centre of Excellence aims at making sure the country generates the training technology and make sure farmers in the East African region have access to improved seeds and planting materials.
He said Tanzania has shared rice varieties: TXD306, Komboka, and Ziada through inter-country agreements. The varieties are now being evaluated for release and adoption in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
He said TXD306 and Komboka varieties have already been released in Kenya.
“We have created awareness by putting in place 132 demonstration sites on good farming practice and establishing 111 farmers field schools. Kibanda said there has been a shift from fishering to farming following the bumper harvests per hectare. He said seeds and good planting materials were an important tool for increased productivity.
With the new varieties farmers are able to produce more than 4.8 tons per hectare as opposed to the traditional varieties where 1.8 tons per hectare could be fetched.
RRCoE has developed regional projects to address production and processing to enable farmers have access to the market especially after increased production.
According to the Production Estimates and Crop Assessment Division Foreign Agriculture Service, food production dominates Tanzania’s agriculture economy with over 5 million hectares cultivated per year of which 85 percent is food crops.