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IRRI in Tanzania

In Tanzania, rice is the second most important food and commercial crop after maize. It is of significant national importance as a source of employment, income, and food security for millions of rural households.

Tanzania’s National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS), endorsed by the government in 2008, aims to progressively transform the existing subsistence-dominated subsector into a commercially viable production system. The goal is to sustain national self-sufficiency, contribute to regional self-sufficiency, and ultimately become a regional market leader.

Key achievements in Tanzania

Development of localized high-yielding rice varieties

Collaboration between Tanzania and IRRI formally began in October 1985 when the two parties agreed to exchange rice germplasm and information, among other activities. Today, over 50% of high-yielding rice varieties in the country originated from IRRI germplasm developed in the region or at its headquarters in the Philippines.

Strengthening country capacity

IRRI has contributed to developing human and infrastructure capacity for national research and extension services, including researchers, extension staff, seed production specialists, and farmers.

Sustainable systems in seeds and crop management

The five-year Memorandum of Understanding was signed between IRRI and the Tanzanian Government in 2015. It prioritizes genetic evaluation and utilization of rice, emphasizing private sector capacity development to speed up the uptake of improved rice varieties and relevant technologies.

International support for rice research in Tanzania

IRRI supported several projects in rice research and capacity building offered by various international donor agencies. Examples include:

  • Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia (STRASA), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) 
  • Green Super Rice (GSR), funded by the Government of China and BMGF
  • Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance funded by BMGF
  • Transforming Rice Breeding (TRB), funded by BMGF
  • Extension Capacity Development for Rice Food Security in Africa funded by JICA
  • Climate-smart flood and salinity-tolerant African Rice funded by DANIDA

In-country partners

IRRI partners with many national research institutes, academia and other agencies in Tanzania including the Ministry of Agriculture, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and Ministry of Water and Irrigation.