TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has suspended rice importation into the country alleging that local production in the previous agricultural season increased significantly to cater for the local demand.

The Citizen quotes the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mathew Mtigumwe saying that local production for this year doubled the demand to reach 2.2 million tonnes while annual demand for rice stands at 900,000 tonnes.

According to the statistics, Tanzania has a surplus production of over 1.3 million tonnes of rice, joining the top rice producers in the region such as Nigeria, Madagascar, Mali and Guinea.

“This makes Tanzania among the top five countries in Sub-Sahara in rice production,” he said.

JICA support

The government of Tanzania in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has established and implemented various agricultural training programmes to increase rice production.

The Japan agency has been continuously working to develop irrigated paddy cultivation resulting in increasing rice yields.

Speaking on the development, Mr Toshio Nagase, a representative of JICA, which is working on a mega project to increase rice productivity said that over 15,000 growers of rice are expected to benefit.

Farmers are able to increase rice production through the training that covers arming techniques, such as ridge management, field levelling, straight-row planting, and the use of handmade weeding machines.

JICA initiated the “Project for Supporting Rice Industry Development in Tanzania (Tanrice 2)” in November 2012 with an aim to disseminate rice farming technologies nationwide in partnership with 7 agricultural training institutes.

On the other hand, the government of Tanzania formulated a National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) in 2009, targeting to double its rice production of up to 1.96 million tons by 2018 through intensification of irrigated paddy production.