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Tanzania and IRRI

In Tanzania, rice is the second most important food and commercial crop after maize with significant national importance as a source of employment, income, and food security for millions of rural households. The country has a rapidly growing population and a political ambition to achieve rice self-sufficiency through raising productivity and expanding production to high potential areas.

The country is the second largest producer of rice in Eastern and Southern Africa after Madagascar. In 2014/15, rice was cultivated on 1.35 million ha. with total paddy production of 2.5 Million tons (equivalent to 1.7 million tons of milled rice). About 71, 20, and 9 percent of rice cultivation takes place under rainfed lowland, upland, and irrigated conditions, respectively.

Tanzania’s National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS), which was endorsed by the government in 2008, envisions progressively transforming the existing subsistence-dominated rice sub-sector into a commercially viable production system, with the aim of doubling annual paddy production to suffi ciently meet domestic demand and export the surplus to neighboring countries.

Key achievements in Tanzania

Development of localized high-yielding rice varieties

Collaboration between the government of Tanzania and IRRI formally began in October 1985 when IRRI’s Board of Trustees visited the country. The two parties agreed to cooperate in strengthening rice research, capacity development of national staff, and exchange of germplasm and information. Today, over 50% of high-yielding rice varieties in the country originate from IRRI germplasm developed in the region or at its HQ in the Philippines.

Strengthening country capacity

IRRI has also contributed to the human and physical capacity development of the national research and extension services. Through organizing in-country and international training courses, IRRI spurred capacity enhancement of researchers, extension staff, seed production specialists, and farmers in various areas of rice research and development. Three PhD and two MSc students were also sponsored by IRRI in recent years.

Sustainable systems in seeds and crop management

A new area of collaboration was launched in 2015 to develop and implement effective and sustainable rice seed system and crop and nutrient management options that enhance rice-based cropping systems. The five-year 2016-2021 Memorandum of Understanding signed between IRRI and the Tanzanian Government give top priority to genetic evaluation and utilization of rice, with an emphasis on private sector capacity development to speed up the uptake of improved rice varieties and accompanying technologies.

Rice research international support

Rice research and outreach activities in Tanzania are implemented with the support of Stress Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia/STRASA (funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/BMGF), Green Super Rice (funded by the Chinese Government and BMGF), Transforming Rice Breeding/TRB (funded by BMGF), and Extension Capacity Development for Rice Food Security in Africa (A JICA-IRRI-PhilRice initiative).

In-country partners

IRRI partners in Tanzania include the Ministry of Agriculture, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), private seed companies and commercial farms, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Kilimo Trust and Farmer’s Cooperative Unions (Bagamoyo, Mombo, Igunga).