The Success of Implementing a Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Tanzania

Tanzanians who participated in the System Rice Intensification training shared their delightful stories of how implementing a new rice growing system improved their lives and wellbeing. These interesting experiences can be a motivation to others. Tanzania implemented a bottom-up approach resulting in a more inclusive initiative, which finally led to achieving a successful outcome. Tanzania is one of the participating countries in the “Partnership for Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Sub-Saharan Africa” project within the framework of South-South Cooperation. Though the project is still ongoing, Tanzania has achieved a tremendous impact on farmers in five irrigation schemes’ regional districts.

Besides Tanzania, the project supported Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. This project, overall sets to achieve the output of improved rice production and productivity, grain quality, technologies, policies, institutions and markets in the regions. On the other hand, achieving a reduced post-harvest losses.

The objective of this project is the realization of more efficient, sustainable and productive rice systems in the countries to increase food security and enhance sustainable development of the rice food chain among the smallholder farmers (particularly Tanzania in this case). Following this, Tanzania achieved training 150 youths (75 males and 75 females), and establishment of 20 demo plots, amongst others.

Rice is the second most consumed food in Tanzania. Rice production was about 3 million tonnes in 2017 and it has been on a rise since then, following the increase in the number of small-holder farmers engaging in the production of crops with modern practices and ways of farming.

Some challenges have faced rice farming in Tanzania like; the shortage of both conducive areas of rice production and, irrigation infrastructure. To address this, FAO in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture of Tanzania trained 150 youths on the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and life skills in 2017 to tackle the challenges. Some of the participants shared their success stories of how the process helped them and their production.

Success Stories

Thanks to the impact created by the project, a number of individuals decided to share their story of how the new rice system changed their lives and that of their families. These stories are very motivating for other farmers who would be encouraged to adopt the process as well.

Belth Fredrick Ndikwege, a farmer from Njage village said that, after the SRI (System of Rice Intensification) training in 2017, in the first year of applying what she learnt, she got 39 bags of paddy while in the second year she got 35 bags and all these worth a lot in Tanzania. After the second year, she and a number of other farmers formed a group called “Kaza Mwendo” and established a demonstration plot which they used to further train farmers in their village. With the profit she got, she was able to start her hair dressing salon which made even more profit for her.

Muhesa Kazumba, a farmer from Morogoro said that, with the SRI training he has developed financially. He got 45 bags of paddy from one acre of land. Due to how successful he was with his rice productions, the village people began to accuse him of using magical powers in farming and he was not able to rent the land for a second time. As a result he had to get a land in a different area to continue his farming. With the profit he got from the produce, he was able to buy a piece of land, bricks and started building his house. With more of the produce being sold, he was able to complete the building.

Khalid Mbena, another farmer from Morogoro said that he was inspired by fellow youth who were trained during the SRI. He joined them and learnt the new techniques from them. He learnt by doing and was able to apply his newly acquired knowledge on his own farms. He usually gets around 7 bags but after he learnt the SRI techniques, his harvest increased to 23 bags from an acre.

Godfrey Pascal, another farmer, said that he got more paddies from his farmland after the SRI training and like Muhesa Kazumba, his village members believed he used magical powers and he magically transferred their crops to his farm. The profit he has gotten from practising SRI has helped him to afford health insurance for his 4 children, his wife and himself. He has also been able to build his house. In 2017, he won the best farmer for the year award for Kilosa district and Morogoro region.

Elizabeth Stephano, a farmer from Mbogo-Komtonga scheme said that after the training, she applied the knowledge on her farm and she was able to get 10 bags from a half acre of land which previously produce only ¾ bags.

During the project’s workshop, Tanzania made a video of the success stories which generated the project off in the country. This also shows that documenting a project’s impact in a given region will help motivate more people, draw some lessons learned and capitalize on positive experiences.

This story is courtesy of YenKasa Africa a regional platform promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations(FAO). For more information: http://www.yenkasa.org .

Integrating Mechanical Weeding and Planting for Reduced Labour Input in Paddy Rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

The most notable [SRI benefits] are savings on water use and increase in yield. Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) has also paved way for mechanical weed control in paddy fields. One of the major constraints to adoption of SRI is the perceived increased labour input due to the careful transplanting and frequent weed control. This paper evaluates the effect of mechanization on labour input in SRI in comparison to the less mechanized farmer practice. In attempt to reduce drudgery in transplanting under SRI, the drum seeder was used to establish the rice crop by direct seeding. This was then followed by using SRI practices i.e. AWD and mechanical weeding. Direct seeding using a drum seeder was compared to transplanting in both SRI and the common farmer practice. Hand weeding was also evaluated and compared to mechanical weeding. Labour input cost was also compared to the income accrued from the yields. From the study, it was noted that direct seeding using the drum seeder reduced labour input by 97% compared to transplanting. This was possible in that in direct seeding, and there was no nursery preparation and management as in transplanting. The use of a mechanical weeder reduced labour input by 28.3% in relation to hand weeding. Labour input cost for SRI was cheaper (Kshs. 124,080 per hectare) compared to the common farmer practice (Kshs. 139,117.50 per hectare). There was more yield from the SRI practice (2.75 Ton/ha) compared to the common farmer practice (1.88 Ton/ha).

Integrating Mechanical Weeding and Planting for Reduced Labour Input in Paddy Rice under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) https://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=90555

Farmers To Adopt New Rice Planting Technology in Ghana

 

Ghana will soon adopt a new technology of rice planting which will boost the production of rice and reduce Ghana’s import of the staple food, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has revealed.

This new technology, known as the system of rice intensification, is different from the broadcasting system which is currently adopted by rice farmers in the country.

This, he stated would increase the “per hectare yield, from about 2.8 metric tonnes, which is the average that we do hear in Ghana when you’re doing the broadcasting to about 6.5 metric tonnes per hectare.”

He disclosed this to the media after a closed-door meeting with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas in Accra yesterday.

Ghana currently imports about $1.5 billion worth of rice annually, a situation which has taken a toll on the strength of the local currency against its counterparts.

The meeting was therefore initiated to find out what the Ghanaian government was doing to ensure that Ghana becomes self-sufficient in the production of rice.

Dr. Akoto stressed that rice farmers would soon be encouraged to take their farming activities to the valleys around the country, as research has shown that such areas have the requisite environment to sustain large scale rice production.

A move which he stressed would make Ghana self-sufficient in rice production and make it a net exporter of the commodity.

He regretted the inability of Ghanaian farmers to harness the natural endowment of valleys which the nation has been blessed with.

Dr. Chambas on his part said the issue of food sufficiency in Africa, particularly in Ghana, is dear to his heart that is why he is bringing in experts in rice production to help government train local farmers to increase productivity, efficiency and enhance their productivity.

This, he said, was consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to target the poorer segment of populations to see how their productivity can be enhanced so that they can earn more income and attain greater prosperity.

He disclosed that his office would be working closely with the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body (GRIB) to adopt these new technologies which have proven efficacious elsewhere.

Evans Sackey Teye of GRIB told reporters that this new technology of rice production would reduce the amount of seed which the farmer would have to use to harvest double the amount of rice he is currently getting from the broadcasting system.

He explained that with the system of rice intensification, the farmer would nest the rice seedlings, and would transplant them as is done for other plants like tomatoes and pepper.

He was optimistic that once this is adopted by smallholder farmers, they would not need to get more land before they can at least double the yield of rice in Ghana.

This story is courtesy of Peace FM . For more on the story: http://www.peacefmonline.com/pages/local/news/201904/379970.php