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Importance of basic cultivation techniques to increase irrigated rice yields in Tanzania

Sekiya, Nobuhito, Tomitaka, Motonori, Oizumi, Nobuaki, Pyuza, Adam Gabriel, Shayo, Richard James, Assenga, Anne Niediwe, Iemoto, Takayoshi, Ishido, Kenji, Saiki, Yasunori, Tamura, Kenji, Nakamura, Takahiro
Paddy and water environment 2017 v.15 no.4 pp. 847-859
cultivars, farmers, grain yield, interviews, irrigation management, rice, surveys, Tanzania
The productivity of irrigated rice is low in Tanzania. We hypothesized that this is caused by the absence of a packaged application of basic cultivation techniques. A baseline survey of 31 rice irrigation schemes across the country revealed that a large proportion of fields were cultivated without a technical package. Thus, a package was introduced to each of the 31 schemes through a farmer-to-farmer (FTF) extension approach. First, selected key farmers (KFs) were trained with the basic cultivation techniques at agricultural training institutes. Second, the KFs transferred their knowledge to intermediate farmers (IFs) by working together at a demo-field established in each scheme. Third, the KFs and IFs exhibited the rice performance to other farmers (OFs). The paddy yield across the 31 schemes greatly increased from the pre-training level of 2.4 t ha⁻¹ to 3.6 t ha⁻¹after the FTF extension. However, the farmer interviews in the four selected schemes suggested that the technical package was not adopted by all farmers owing to the time-consuming nature of the FTF extension. It was inferred from our study that the low productivity of irrigated rice is caused by the absence of basic cultivation techniques in Tanzania. However, the post-training yield remained relatively low compared with high-yields (4.3–8.4 t ha⁻¹) recorded in cultivar selection trials and high-performing schemes in the county. This “yield gap” could be partly ascribed to the insufficient technical diffusion and the technique-dependent adoption among OFs.