To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

September 26, 2011

Kenya: New rice planting system saves water, seeds

by Ngondi Mburu

Kenyan rice farmers are switching to a new technology that is set to double production. The System for Rice Intensification (SRI) developed by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is expected to improve production by more than 50 per cent while saving on increasingly scarce water.

Rather than planting a group of seeds together, the new method uses only one seedling per hole with a wider spacing between holes of 25 cm by 25 cm. This saves on inputs as farmers use 25 per cent of seeds used in the conventional paddy system and less fertiliser.

With wider spacing, rice plants get more sunlight, air and nutrients, allowing faster growth of roots and canopies, producing stronger stalks and more tillers.

The new system saves water by about 25 per cent to 50 per cent, allowing for the saved water to be used to expand the production area. Water scarcity has been affecting most rice-growing schemes with frequent rationing affecting production. The situation is expected to worsen with increasing population and climate change.

Use of less water is also expected to reduce water- borne diseases along with Malaria and Bilharzia. Farmers are encouraged to use organic fertilisers rather than synthetic ones to enrich the soil. This further reduces input costs.

One of the disadvantages of the new system, however, is that it requires more weeding since weeds tend to grow more rapidly under un-flooded conditions. But the extra effort is compensated by increased yields of one to two tonnes per hectare.

More than 1,800 farmers have adopted the system which improves yields, grain quality, size and aroma, and uses up to 50 per cent less water than the conventional system.

Rice consumption in Kenya is estimated at 300,000 metric tonnes compared to a consumption of 45,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes. The deficit is met by imports mainly from Asia.

Business Daily Africa

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP