Rice research sub program is one of programs in the Ministry of Agriculture under Directorate of Research and Development which has the mandate of conducting research.

Major areas of Research (Currently).

  1. Evaluation of rice germplasm collected in Tanzania, at Kikusya –Kyela,
  2. Rice variety trial I and II, at Kikusya (Kyela) and Ilongo and Igurusi (Mbarali),
  3. Multi-location variety trial, at Mbarali, Mbozi, Kyela, Songea and Namtumbodistricts.
  4. Conduct on farm trials for the advanced lines under research prior to recommendations for release.
  5. Seed increase of SARO5, UROO1 and Kalalu varieties released continue

Overview of Rice Production

Rice is one of the most important crops in the Southern Highlands (SH). It is ranked the second after maize. Major crops in the SH zone are maize, rice, beans, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes and finger millet (arranged in the order of their importance).

Total cultivation area, production and average yield (as per 2005) for the crops in the zone are as follows:-


 Crop (s)

Total area         (’000Ha) in SH

Total production     (’000Tonnes)

Average Yield  (Tonnes /Ha)

Maize

938.3

1,438.6

1.6

Rice

144.6

396.4

2.4

Common beans

223.4

304.1

1.3

Wheat

21.2

21.9

1.0

Irish potatoes

34.9

267.2

10.0

Finger millet

45.1

38.9

0.6

Rice is produced in low altitude (350 to 1600 m) of Usangu basin, Mbozi (Msangano and Kamsamba), Lake Rukwa valley and Lake Shores of Tanganyika (Kirando to Kasanga) and Nyasa (Kyela to Mbambabay). Other areas are Songea, along the lowlands of river Ruaha (Pawaga), Namtumbo and Mpanda districts.

The Southern Highlands covers 24% of the total rice production areas but produces 33% of the National rice. Average yields ranges from 1.6 to 2.4 t/ha at farmers’ level although an average of 5 to 6 t/ha has have been recorded in irrigated schemes. The Southern highlands zone demonstrates highest level of rice yields of others zones in Tanzania. At research level rice potential yields range from 4 to 6 t/ha for uplands and 6 to 10 t/ha for lowlands irrigated ecosystems of cultivation, respectively.

Rice Production Problems

  1. Low yielding potential of the cultivars preferred by the farmers. Most of the preferred cultivars are susceptible to common rice diseases. These are rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV), blasts, bacterial leaf blasts (BLB), and brown leaf spot.
  2. Disadoptions of many improved varieties in the past because they were not aromatic, have poor milling and cooking qualities. Preferred rice varieties should have mealy color of the milled rice and be non glutinous therefore non sticky when cooked. 
  3. There are many agronomic problems. Poor soil fertilities because many soils are acidic and depleted of different nutrients therefore do not give high yields.  There are high frequencies of weed infestation of both common and parasitic weeds. The common parasitic weed affecting upland rice is Striga spp andRamphicarpa fistulosa in lowlands rainfed and irrigated rice.  There is also a problem of water management that includes prolonged drought, uneven rainfall condition, floods, and inefficient water use.
  4. Lack of package of integrated pests and diseases management (IPDM). RYMV is a common disease in lowland irrigated ecosystems where rice production is potentially high.

Rice Research Future Plans in SH

  1. To develop varieties that are resistant to diseases, high yielding (>8 t/ha) and meet farmers grain quality preferences. Sources of different positive characters have been identified.
  2. Promotion of NERICA (New rice for Africa) varieties developed by AfricaRice for more adaptation to the Southern Highlands and /or use in the variety improvement program.
  3. To develop an integrated weed management packages (IWNP), integrated soil fertility management packages (ISFMP) and water management technologies, which includes the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) for reducing the rice sector’s demand for water while raising yields,  water harvesting techniques in order to improve water use efficiency in irrigation agriculture.
  4. To develop IPDM packages for major insect pests and diseases.  This will involve characterizing the strains of RYMV and studying the epidemiology of the disease in particular, and other diseases. Apply markers assisted selection protocols developed on RYMV resistance research

Contact

Zonal Director (Southern Highlands)
Uyole Agricultural Research Institute,
Telephone: +255 (25) 2510363 & 2510062
Fax   +255 (25) 2510065
e-mail:  zdrd@ariuyole.go.tz 
P. O. Box 400, 
MBEYA

Project(s)

·         To develop high yielding varieties
·         To identify insects and diseases 
·         To develop/address  Agronomy
·         To multiply and disseminate