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Farmers in Eastern Africa region Hopeful to Increase Rice Production

Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila.Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila.

Tanzania is hosting the First Regional Rice Review and Planning Meeting that is taking place from 30th September to 4th October 2013 at Peacock Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  

The meeting opening ceremony was graced by the Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives of Tanzania Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila.

Over 100 participants mostly scientists from four countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which are implementing the Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (EAAPP) attended the meeting. 

The meeting objectives fall within the general mandate of EAAPP which is in line with the African Union/ NEPAD’s strategy for agricultural growth, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Program (CAADP) which is that of increasing agricultural productivity in Pillar IV framework. 

Dr. Kayandabila, in his opening statement, commended the regionality aspect in fostering collaborations in tackling agricultural development challenges. 

He said that “Globalization presents many challenges to our regional and as such cooperating with each other with the aim of achieving mutual benefits in terms of technology development is indeed very crucial”. 

He further said that, “EAAPP approach has continued to develop and work through highly specialized state of the art and high level Centres’ of Excellency which are expected to be hubs of knowledge, technology and information of the four commodities among which is the Regional Rice Centre of Excellence”.   

The meeting is important for the Eastern Africa Countries particularly Tanzania’s economy where rice is the  second most important crop after maize and one of the major cash crop. In Tanzania rice is predominantly grown by small scale farmers under rain fed lowland, upland and irrigated ecosystems. 

The annual demand of rice in Tanzania has been increasing as a result of population increase, expansion of urbanization and dietary shift from other conventional food. 

On the other hand, it is also interesting to mention that rice production in Tanzania has more than doubled from 1,162,690 tons in 2005 to 2,650,120 tons in 2011. 

This increase in production is attributed to the increase in acreage from 701,990 hectares to 1,319,320 hectares in the same period. Another attributes to the increase in production of rice in Tanzania among others include use of new improved rice varieties such as SARO 5 (TXD 306) and TXD 85. 

Other attributes are provision of fertilizer subsidies by the Government of Tanzania which has brought about increase in fertilizer use by small scale farmers. 

Tanzania is hosting the First Regional Rice Review and Planning Meeting that is taking place from 30th September to 4thOctober 2013 at Peacock Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

The opening ceremony of the meeting was graced by the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila. 

Over 100 participants mostly scientists from four countries– Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which are implementing the Eastern Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (EAAPP) are attending the meeting. 

The meeting objectives fall within the general mandate of EAAPP which is in line with the African Union/ NEPAD’s strategy for agricultural growth, the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Program (CAADP) which is that of increasing agricultural productivity in Pillar IV framework. 

Dr. Kayandabila, in his opening statement, commended the regionality aspect in fostering collaborations in tackling agricultural development challenges. 

He said that “Globalization presents many challenges to our regional and as such cooperating with each other with the aim of achieving mutual benefits in terms of technology development is indeed very crucial”. 

He further said that, “EAAPP approach has continued to develop and work through highly specialized state of the art and high level Centres’of Excellency which are expected to be hubs of knowledge, technology and information of the four commodities among which is the Regional Rice Centre of Excellence”. 

The meeting is important for the Eastern Africa Countries particularly Tanzania’s economy where rice is the second most important crop after maize and one of the major cash crop. In Tanzania rice is predominantly grown by small scale farmers under rain fed lowland, upland and irrigated ecosystems. 

The annual demand of rice in Tanzania has been increasing as a result of population increase, expansion of urbanization and dietary shift from other conventional food types. 

On the other hand, it is also interesting to mention that rice production in Tanzania has more than doubled from 1,162,690 tons in 2005 to 2,650,120 tons in 2011. 

This increase in production is attributed to the increase in acreage from 701,990 hectares to 1,319,320 hectares in the same period. Another attributes to the increase in production of rice in Tanzania among others include use of new improved rice varieties such as SARO 5 (TXD 306) and TXD 85. 

Other attributes are provision of fertilizer subsidies by the Government of Tanzania which has brought about increase in fertilizer use by small scale farmers. 

Over the current years, rice is among important export crop which has equally promoted production of the crop in the region. 

Tanzania is home to the Regional Rice Center of Excellence (RRoCE) which is located in Ifakara, Morogoro region in Eastern Tanzania. Despite RRoCE being situated in Tanzania but scientists from across the four countries are doing research to generate technologies to enhance production and utilization of rice along the value chain. 

In this regional rice review and planning meeting scientists have the opportunity to present their work, share experiences and discuss future project proposals. 

It is anticipated that this meeting fulfills the pre-set goal of EAAPP which is: 
“to contribute to enhanced sustainable productivity, value added and competitiveness of the sub-regional agricultural system” Furthermore, this meeting has been organized to challenge scientists to stay focused towards achieving the specific objectives of EAAPP which are to:

  • Enhance regional specialization in agricultural research
  • Increase regional collaboration in agricultural training and dissemination
  • Facilitate increased sharing of agricultural information, knowledge and technology across national boundaries

The rice farmers in the four countries where EAAPP is being implemented are looking forwards to the outcomes of this meeting and others to come, not only for meeting the objectives and goals of the project, but of most interest to them is to get technologies which can enable them to produce more rice efficiently which will provide more on the table. 

It is therefore in the interest of farmers and other stakeholders in the Eastern Africa region that the rice sub-sector will make a difference in improving livelihood and economies of the region though these established research collaborations under EAAPP.