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The highest yield ever recorded in the history of rice production in Africa

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Charles Ngereza

Tanzanian rice swells yield from salty soil

“Farmers are now able to produce six tonnes per hectare, the highest yield ever recorded in the history of rice production in the entire eastern and southern Africa countries.” – Sophia Kashenge, Chollima Agro-Scientific Research Centre, Tanzania

by Charles Ngereza

Speed read

  • Salt-resistant variety identified from tsunami-swamped fields in Japan
  • New rice and soil treatment raise yield from 0.5 to six tonnes a hectare
  • Combination could benefit millions of African farmers

Scientists in Tanzania have developed a high-yielding, salt-resistant rice variety that could benefit millions of farmers across Africa.

The variety, dubbed SATO1, can yield several tonnes of rice per hectare even in salty ground — up from just 0.5 tonnes for traditional varieties that grow poorly in such soil, the researchers say.

The rice is being used as part of a wider project that combines salt-tolerant varieties identified in Japan after the 2011 tsunami with treatments designed to reduce salt concentrations in the earth.

The combination of better rice and soil treatment has led to the reclamation of 680 hectares of land previously almost incapable of producing rice.

The research is yet to be published in a scientific journal, but the researchers say the land now supports 1,774 households in Ndungu, a salt-prone area in Kilimanjaro district in northern Tanzania.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.