Adopting the system of rice intensification (SRI) in Tanzania


The demand of water for irrigation purposes in Tanzania outstrips the amount of water available for irrigation and other demands. On the other hand, the demand for more food to feed the growing population is increasing, calling for the need to have technologies and farming practices that ensure more food production while minimizing water uses. Rice is among cereal crops grown in Tanzania, and it can assist in meeting the food demand for the nation. Majority of rice producers in Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are subsistence farmers and they practice continuous flooding, a technique that requires much water. In addition to using large amounts of water, the conventional practices of growing paddy using local varieties transplanting process are implemented when seedlings are more than 21 days old, and 3 – 4 seedlings are transplanted in one hole. This practice results in low yields, and low water productivity and water use efficiency. The system of rice intensification (SRI) on the other hand, is a promising new practice of growing paddy rice that has proven to be very effective in saving water and increasing rice yields in many parts of the world. SRI practice is spreading fast and it has been adopted in many countries. The SRI practice has been introduced in Tanzania during the last 3 years as such it is not widely practiced. This paper reviews SRI practice at global, regional and country (Tanzania) level, and evaluates the challenges, opportunities and implications for its adoption in Tanzania. Knowledge gaps at each level have been identified and discussed as well as suggestions for researchable areas.

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