SRI was introduced to Tanzania in 2009 by Kilombero Plantations Limited in an effort to increase the country’s food security. As of 2013, SRI is being practiced in Mkindo and Dakawa in Morogoro region, and in the Mwanza and Kilimanjaro Regions (see progress section for details). A project to introduce climate smart agriculture in Kiroka village in Morogoro Region that was initiated by FAO and Sokoine University in 2011 has resulted in tripling some farmers’ yields with SRI.

Rice is the second most cultivated food and commercial crop in Tanzania after maize, with a cultivated area of about 681,000 ha, which represents 18% of the cultivated land. Yields are generally very low (1-1.5 tons/ha.) as most is grown with traditional methods. In addition, 71% of the rice is grown under rainfed conditions. About half of the country’s rice is grown by 230,000 smallholder farmers in the Tabora, Shinyanga and Morogoro regions of the Central Corridor. With large amounts of suitable, unfarmed, arable land, a high rate of self-sufficiency and current low yields, the Government of Tanzania hopes to increase rice production and become a large net-exporter of rice for the region and for Africa. (See rice sector strategy). SRI is one of the strategies being investigated to improve small-holder rice production, both by the government and the private sector. The largest SRI effort in Tanzania to date is associated with the Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL), which reportedly has 5,000 ha under rain-fed cultivation, 215 ha under irrigation, with the capacity to annually produce 33,000 tons of milled rice and 5,000 tons of rotation crops (beans and pulses.) KPL implemented SRI methods to lift smallholder yields from 3 tons/ha to over 5 tons/ha, and by 2014 tripled the average production of 6,500 farmer families living within 50 km of KPL. In 2015, this increased to 7,700 families.

Several scholarly articles on SRI have been published on SRI in Tanzania between 2012 and 2016. (See research section below to access abstracts and papers). These were done primarily by researchers at Sokoine University and Mbeya University of Science and Technology and indicate positive SRI evaluations and potential in the Morogoro region. A Master’s thesis was also completed in 2012 by M. Kombe on SRI in the Mkindo Irrigation Scheme in Morogoro and a PhD dissertation in 2016 by Patrick Bell on the Lower Moshi Irrigation Scheme. A recemt video on FAO promotion of SRI in Morogoro includes the perspectives on SRI from SRI farmers and other stakeholders.

Progress and Activities

2018 Updates
  • arrowNew Video about Farmers Progress with SRI in the Morogoro Regeion.[December 13, 2018] Rice production in Tanzania is increasingly important to the national economy and is among the major sources of employment and income for many farming households. While Tanzania meets 98% of its own rice demand, rice productivity in the country is low. According to a December YouTube video, this is mainly aggravated by the impacts of climate change, inadequate use of improved technologies, low levels of involvement of the private sector in the rice value chain, poor irrigation infrastructure, limited involvement of youth in agriculture and limited knowledge among small-scale farmers on executing good agricultural practices. Rice production in Tanzania is practiced in both lowland and upland areas with 29.4 million hectares having potential for irrigated rice. However, only 461,326 hectares of this land is currently under production. With support from the Government of Venezuela, FAO implemented the Partnership for Sustainable Rice System Development in Africa project, which is promoting the System of Rice Intensification as a means of addressing current constraints. The project is being implemented in three districts (Kilombero, Kilosa and Mvomero) in Morogoro region covering five irrigation schemes. The video, entitled SRI: Transforming lives in Tanzania includes perspectives on SRI from farmers and other stakeholders.
  • arrow SRI Finds Success (and Disbelief!) in Kilosa[January 13, 2018] SRI has been generating considerable interest in a project in Kilosa that is being implemented by FAO in collaboration with the Government of Tanzania. The project, which is funded by the Government of Venezuela through South South Cooperation, trained 150 youths in SRI methods, who went on to recruit over 400 youth and 20 adult farmers. One of these groups won the best seed competition; some of the farmers were hired to provide extension services and seedlings to other farmers. In addition to outlining the information above, a video on YouTube’s Kilimo Biashara channel follows the story of a Godfrey Pascal (right), a young farmer from Ilonga, Kilosa, who after a training on SRI, harvested 52 sacks of rice from an area of 1.5 acres. However, his high yields on a small piece of land led others to believe he was using witchcraft to transfer crops from other farmers to his field until the government eventually intervened through the extension officer! Godfrey subsequently emerged as the best farmer of 2017 for Kilosa District and Morogoro region. [See video and FAO article for more information.]
  • arrow 2017 Research on SRI in Tanzania[December 15, 2017] During 2017, two research publications about SRI in Tanzania were added to the SRI-Rice research database. Included were:
    1) A study by Nakano et al, Impact of training on the intensification of rice farming: evidence from rainfed areas in Tanzania, accepted for publication in the Agricultural Economicson on December 18, 2017. This study investigates the impact of rice production training in a modified version of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on the performance of small-scale rice farmers in a rain-fed area of Tanzania. Utilizing the plot level variation, the study employed propensity score matching (PSM) to assess the impact of training on technology adoption, productivity, and profitability. The authors also estimated a difference-in-differences model with plot fixed effects using recall panel data covering the periods before and after training. They found that trainees achieved an average paddy yield of 4.7 tons per hectare and rice profit of 191.5 USD per hectare on the plots where new technologies were adopted, which is higher by about 1.3–1.8 tons and 119–137 USD per hectare than on the other plots. The study suggests the high potential of transforming favorable rain-fed rice growing areas in SSA so as to achieve a rice Green Revolution through training in modern input use and improved agronomic practices.
    2) An article by Emmanuel Tumusiime entitled Suitable for whom? The case of system of rice intensification in Tanzania was published in The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension. His study examines the suitability of SRI for diverse small-scale farmers in Tanzania by exploring if poor and non-poor farmers adopt the system to a similar extent. The results indicate that middle-wealth group adopt SRI to a greater extent compared to the wealthier and poorer groups. The extent of adoption by wealthier and poorer groups is similar, although constraining circumstances differ. Access to factors that consistently explained adoption: contact with extension services, land with water, and labor, vary systematically among groups.
2016 Updates
  • arrowPartnership for Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Africa Project to Include SRI Farmer Field Schools[November 15, 2016] According to an article in the Daily News, a new project by FAO is set to support Tanzania’s efforts to increase rice production and productivity in two-fold by 2018 through boosting productivity in farming among smallholder farmers. The Partnership for Sustainable Rice Systems Development in Africa project will support efforts to improve domestic rice supply and strengthen the rice market in the country. The project will be implemented in five targeted irrigation schemes in Morogoro region namely Mvumi, Msolwa Ujamaa, Ilonga, Njage and Kigugu/ Mbogo-Komtonga located in Kilosa, Mvomero and Kilombero districts (Morogoro Region). Among other activities, the project will establish junior farmer field schools to upscale the adoption of the System of Rice Intensification.[See Daily News article for details.]
  • arrow2016 Research on SRI in Tanzania[October 26, 2016] During 2016, we added several research publications about SRI in Tanzania to the SRI-Rice research database. Included were:
    1) an Ohio State University PhD dissertation by Patrick Bell on the Sustainable Intensification for food security and climate change adaptation in TanzaniaOne of the dissertation findings suggests that if SRI is adopted throughout the Lower Moshi Irrigation Scheme (LMIS), there is potential to increase rice production by 4,173 tons/ha due to increased water use efficiency and the ability to increase the area under rice production. This translates into a potential net income in the region of $622,000 annually. 
    2) an article by P. Reuben et al in Agricultural Sciences on the influence of transplanting age on paddy yield under the System of Rice Intensification. The results suggested that transplanting at younger age of 8 to 12 days is recommended for Mkindo area in Mvomero District as well as other areas with similar soil conditions and agro ecological characteristics.
    3) an article by Z. Katambara et al entitled Characteristics of rice produced under direct and indirect SRI practices in Chimala Area in Mbarali district Tanzaniawhich was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Sustainability reported that yields under SRI practices were more than 16 ton/ha against less than 8 ton/ha for conventional rice growing practices. (See paper for discussion of other rice characteristics.)

    In addition to completed research, we found a description of an ongoing Environment for Development (EfD)-sponsored study by Razack Lokina to assess the impact of the System of Rice Intensification on small-holder farmers’ welfare: The study will assess the determinants of partial adoption dynamics and its impact implications on yield and farm profit among rice farmers in Morogoro region of Tanzania.

2015 Updates
  • arrow6,500 Farmer Families Living Within 50 km of Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL) Triple Yield[May 26, 2015] The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), an inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnership was developed to rapidly develop Tanzania’s agricultural potential. In a May 26 IPP Media article, SAGCOT Centre Deputy CEO Jennifer Baarn noted that the Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL) formed a public-private partnership between Rubada (8.7 percent) and Agrica (91.3 percent), which was established in July 2008 to redevelop Mngeta Farm. Over US $ 45 million of the projected $75 million is being invested.
  • KPL reportedly has 5,000 ha under rain-fed cultivation, 215 ha under irrigation, with the capacity to annually produce 33,000 tons of milled rice and 5,000 tons of rotation crops, which include beans and pulses. KPL implemented SRI methods to lift smallholder yields from 3 tons/ha to over 5 tons/ha, and tripled the average production of 6,500 farmer families living within 50 km of KPL. In 2015, this increased to 7,700 families. [...more]
  • arrowFAO Climate Change Publication Highlights SRI Successes in Tanzania[July 21, 2014] A 2014 FAO publication on adapting to climate change through land and water management in Eastern Africa discusses the results and lessons learned from pilot projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The FAO/Sida-supported pilot project “Strengthening capacity for climate change adaptation in land and water management” proposed an integrated package of approaches that addressed the drivers of vulnerability and targeted climate change impacts. It focused on technologies that improve soil health and facilitate water conservation, the diversification of the sources of livelihood and income, and the strengthening of local institutions. Of the fifty trained farmers during 2012-2013, 74% adopted SRI, with yields climbing to as high as 11.6 t/ha in SRI plots. (Traditional fields averaged 1.65 t/ha). Plants grown with SRI methods also showed increased biomass yield and improved root development, which contributes to increased resilience to drought and longer-term soil health. Due to the success of Tanzania SRI projects described, the authors wrote, “Efforts are required to ensure that most farmers in rice growing areas [in Tanzania] are encouraged to adopt the SRI technology, particularly the improved water management, as this is a beneficial adaptation to increasing weather variability, reduced water supply and the predicted impacts of climate change. SRI technology should also be spread nation-wide by institutionalizing it into district- and national-level plans where irrigation is practiced…” For details, see the FAO/Sida publication.)
  • arrowMvomero Farmers Participating in a SRI project Double Production from Four to Nine Tons per Hectare[June 1, 2014] Mvomero farmers participating in the SRI project have doubled production from the previous four tons/ha to nine tons/ha following intensive training by the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The project, which is based on participatory validation and upscaling of SRI in Mvomero district is organized by the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH). According to the article in IPP Media, a farmer from Mkindo village, Athumani Kazumba, said that the project, which began in 2012, has proven effective and efficient in seed and water management in their rice farms. Another farmer, Costa Kongo, commended initiatives being taken by the government, and said that if COSTECH injected more funds into the project to reach many farmers, the district would attain food self-sufficiency, and added, “We have participated in many projects, but many never produced the desired results, but through SRI many farmers see light at the end of the tunnel.” For her part, Stamili Kassimu has urged the government to give priority to women especially the elderly so that they benefit from the project. [For more information, see the Gerald Kitabu’s article.]
  • arrow FAO and Sokoine University of Agriculture Promote SRI and CA to Address Climate Change[November 20, 2013] In Kiroka village, located in Tanzania’s Morogoro Region, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) began a project to introduce climate smart agricultural techniques, including SRI, three years ago. Of the village’s 3000 farmers, 268 joined the project. Because rainfall has lessened and become more erratic over the past several decades, the local rivers have become seasonal, making SRI attractive through eliminating the need to continuously flood rice fields as traditionally done. According to the Inter Press Service article, some farmers have received increased yields with SRI, which has allowed for farmers to sell surplus. FAO is also promoting conservation agriculture in Tanzania in order to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon sequestration in the soil.

    The FAO project has, according to Henry Mahoo, a professor of agricultural engineering majoring in soil and water conservation at SUA, helped farmers in this village to adapt to changing conditions. A baseline survey conducted by SUA in February 2012 indicated that 95.5 percent of 2,688 farmers in Kiroka were aware of the changes in climate. In an IPS article, he added that “With SRI production [a farmer’s yield] can increase by four times. Last year, we had a farmer who produced 11.6 tonnes per hectare.” Mahoo, who is also the soil and water management coordinator on this project, explained that areas in central and southern Tanzania that now receive rainfall would be arid within 50 years. He added “We need to prepare for this future scenario.” (see Makoye’s IPS article).

  • arrow Review Article on SRI in Tanzania Published in Agricultural Sciences JournalIn August 2013, Katambara et al published a review article on adoption of SRI in Tanzania in the journal Agricultural Sciences. The authors write that SRI was introduced in Tanzania in 2006 by Kilombero Plantations Limited, a company in Morogoro that introduced SRI as a response to the government slogan of “Agriculture First” (Green Revolution) which was intended to support agriculture to increase country’s food security. Currently, SRI is being practiced in Mkindo and Dakawa in Morogoro region, and Mwanza and Kilimanjaro Regions. Each of the regions has acquired the technology from either India or Kenya.

    Following successes in implementing SRI in various regions, varying results have been observed. Among them include increased grain yields, water use efficiency, number of panicles, and number of productive tillers. In Mkindo area, for a spacing of 25 cm by 25 cm, the grain yield was 6.3 tons/ha, which was higher than conventional practice, which recorded a yield of 3.83 tons/ha . In the same study the above ground biomass obtained was 10.7 tons/ha for SRI compared to 8.9 tons/ha in conventional practice. In addition, other results from the same area indicated that water use under SRI practice was found to be 1.026 m3/m2 against 2.882 m3/m2 in conventional practice. This suggests that SRI can save water up to 64%. In addition the water productivity obtained ranges from above 0.29 to 0.47 kg/m3. This suggests to the authors that SRI practices are suitable for water-stressed areas in Tanzania.

  • arrow First Season SRI Results from Mkindo Field Experiments in Morogoro, Tanzania
    The January 2013 harvest in the Mkindo irrigation scheme in Morogoro Region resulted in grain yields of 7.35, 7.60, and 9.91 tons/ha for spacings of 35 cm x 35 cm, 30 cm x 30 cm, and 25 cm x 25 cm, respectively. Although, a spacing of 25 cm x 25 cm produced the highest grain yield, the researchers suggest that lower spacing are recommended for further investigation of lower seedling spacing should be investigated as well.
  • arrow SRI-Rice Undertakes Evaluation and Training at the NAFAKA ProjectThe five-year USAID-funded Tanzania Staples Value Chain (NAFAKA) project is being undertaken in partnership with Kilombero Plantations Ltd (KPL), a company that has begun to produce rice on its >5000 ha farm. KPL also collaborates with farmers on SRI in an out-grower scheme, and plans to reach 5000 smallholder farmers with SRI. In 2009, KPL invited Dr. Vinod Goud from the WWF-ICRISAT Project in Hyderabad, India, to establish SRI demonstration plots and train KPL staff and farmers. Beginning with only 15 farmers in 2009/2010, KPL had reached several thousand farmers in over 10 villages as of 2012. In 2011/2012, the NAFAKA project extended the SRI intervention zone to Mlimba, Ifakara North (all is Kilombero District) and to Dakawa in the Mvomero District, with numerous demonstration plots. Erika Styger visited NAFAKA and KPL activities in May 2012 and carried out several trainings as well as project evaluations. (See report for details.)

Reports and Articles 
(in chronological order)

Research and Journal Articles

Practical Information


  • 2018 (December 7). System of Rice Intensification transforming lives in Tanzania. 11:42 min. Kilimo Biashara channel, YouTube. [Story about an FAO project promoting SRI in several districts of the Morogoro in Tanzania. This is a longer version of the January 2018 video]
  • 2018 (January 13). System of Rice Intensification Transforming Lives in Tanzania. 3:45 min. Kilimo Biashara channel, Youtube. [Video about a young SRI farmer in Ilonga Village, near Kilosa, Tanzania; the project is implemented with technical support from FAO in collaboration with the Government of Tanzania and funded by the Government of Venezuela through the South South Cooperation.]
  • 2017 (March 22). FAO, Tanzania Govt train 150 youth farmers in rice farming, life skills. 2:22 min. Emmanuel Kihaule channel, YouTube. [Swahili language ITV program explains that 150 youth have been trained in SRI and the Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools (JFFLS) approach under the Partnership for Sustainable Rice System Development in Africa project, financed by the Government of Venezuela through FAO under South South Cooperation and is implemented by the Government of United Republic of Tanzania through Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries.]
  • 2014 (November 3). Rice Weeding in Tanzania: Innovations From the Field. 3:26 min. Produced by Feed the Future program, Feed the Future website. [Low-cost, hand-held rice weeders in the Morogoro region of Tanzania] [Also available on youtube here.]
  • 2013 (November 26). Using the Rotary Weeder in Lowland Rice. 17.48 min. africaricecenter channel, YouTube. [acquired February 2, 2015]

Photo Gallery