SUA researchers want new rice farming system to reach farmers

27Oct 2020
Correspondent
Morogoro
The Guardian
SUA researchers want new rice farming system to reach farmers

RESEARCHERS from the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) have challenged the ministry of agriculture to introduce the system of rice intensification (SRI) across the country to improve yields as well as farmers’ welfare.

The university’s senior researcher on Agriculture and Gender, Dr Devotha Kilave.

The university’s senior researcher on Agriculture and Gender, Dr Devotha Kilave said this when addressing journalists at a dissemination seminar organised by the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA). The seminar was meant to present research findings on SRI.

Dr Kilave added that findings on the system of rice intensification have indicated that farmers who were trained on SRI have increased their harvests and some are now engaging in commercial rice farming. She said it is high time the government review its policies to introduce SRI in all the regions cultivating the crop.

“The ministry should come up with a strategy to introduce SRI across the country; this will benefit farmers and the nation. The technology is likely to enhance productivity, hence food security,” she noted.

She said that efforts to improve road infrastructures and connecting more people to electricity services will boost rice cultivation.

According to her, regular training to farmers helps to increase productivity in the agriculture sector. She said rice farmers who were trained on SRI harvested more by 8.7 percent compared to those who did not attend the training.

The research highlighted that only 45 percent of farmers practiced the system of rice intensification in 2016/2027, but the number has now increased to 61.6 percent after other 36 groups of rice farmers started applying SRI in rice cultivation.

Application of the system of rice intensification enabled farmers to harvest 2.9 tonnes of rice per acre while they were previously harvesting 2.3 tonnes.

Head of the Project, Prof Aida Isinika said the rice intensification system helps in controlling water loss as well as environment destruction. He said the SRI is implemented at the RAMSA wetland area which is among the sources taking water to the Kidatu dam.

“The SRI saves water because the technology only requires a small amount of water and fewer seeds,” said Prof Isinika.