Feb 22, 2018 Last Updated 2:37 PM, Apr 10, 2017

Sowing New Rice For Uganda

  • Dec 19, 2014
Tsuboi the rice champion in Uganda Tsuboi the rice champion in Uganda
Published in Printing

RICE IS ONE OF the human race’s most important grains and its one the three world’s major cereals, along with wheat and corn.For the past 10 years Tsuboi Tatsushi has been working to promote the dissemination of the rice cultivar Nerica in Uganda as part of a Japan international co-operation agency (JICA) project to promote rice production in Uganda, he spoke to Patrick wasajja about the rife of rice in Uganda


Briefly what is the focus of the Rice program?
Our focus is on upland rice called NERICA (New Rice For Africa) is drawing attention in many parts of Uganda, NERICA was invented around the mid-90s by the Africa Rice center (WARDA).This rice a hybridization of African rice and Asian rice varieties is both adapted to the Ugandan environment and its resistant to the insect pests, its cultivation period is 90 to 100 days, which is 30 t0 50 days shorter than the conventional African upland rice variety. in additional although the production yield for African upland rice varieties averages approximately one ton per Hectare, the average yield for NERICA is roughly three tons.
This year’s world food day theme is feeding the world and caring for the earth, how can rice program contribute to the attainment of this theme.
Our new varieties take only a short period of time to mature, only 90 days that means that the farmer will have rice in a short period of time compared to the conversional rice which is a 50 days longer, so through that we are feeding the world in short period of time, because up to now rice was considered a luxury food item in rural areas of Uganda, people only ate it several times a year but now farmers who cultivate NERICA can eat it two to three times per week. Rice consumption has been increasing in recent years and domestic rice production of about 160000 tons per annum cannot keep up with the consumption, meaning approximately 60000 tons of rice is imported from over seas but with NERICA we have been able to increase on the production hence low importation of rice from overseas.

What are the key research achievements for the program this year?
As a Japan international cooperation(JICA)expert, we have been involved in research and popularization of NERICA in Uganda since 2004,we have achieved a lot in our research because now every family in rural areas is now taking up the new varieties, the NERICA, and Japan has contributed to its popularization through both financial and technical support, we have been able to chose NERICA species that are suited for land and weather of Uganda, and we work together with researchers in the National resources research institute.

How have you ensured that the achievements rollout to the farming communities?
We have instructed approximately 18000 farmers and agricultural extension officers on how to cultivate NERICA, we have handed one kilogram of to farmers who complete the training and who agree that if they are able to successfully cultivate and harvest a good crop of rice seeds to neighbors who want it. We are also teaching Japan overseas cooperation volunteers who operate in various locations around Uganda on how to cultivate NERICA,and hands out rice seeds for them to try to distribute from their specific duty stations, thanks to these efforts the rice acreage of NERICA has been expanding rapidly in Uganda from 4000hectares in 2003 to 80000 hectares today, this accounts for 50 percent of the rice cultivation in Uganda.
What is your massage for this year’s world food day to the world?
Grow more rice so as to improve the food situation in Africa and vitalize the African economy.

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