TARI research indigenous seed to help paddy farmers increase output

The Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) is conducting a research on flood-tolerant rice varieties which aims at help farmer mitigate losses caused by climate change.

The research also involves registering indigenous plant seeds and making them available in agricultural seed stores so that farmers who need them can easily access them.

Under the current system only modern seeds are available in the market.

TARI’s Director General, Dr. Thomas Bwana, said this last weekend during a discussion held during Environmental Stakeholders’ Conference in Dar es Salaam. Vice President Dr. Phillip Mpango, graced the event.

Dr Bwana noted that they were currently in the process of gathering information by visiting farms affected by floods and collecting samples of rice that survived.

‚ÄúWe are going to study genetics of these tolerant species as we are asking ourselves why this one survived. If it is the genes which are the factor this is going to help us develop varieties which will be floor resistant,‚ÄĚ said Dr. Bwana.

Generally, he said the study will focus on paddy genetics with a view of developing varieties with high resilience to the effects of climate change, as well as developing drought resistant seeds which ripe in short time.

Dr. Bwana said that due to the demand for indigenous seeds, they have begun the process of producing such seeds and over time they will be distributed to agricultural seed stores for farmers who need them.

He stated that agriculture is significantly affected by the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, hence a substantial investment in research is needed to save the country from famine.

He also noted that in collaboration with the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), they have been advising farmers on the types of crops to plant based on the expected weather conditions so as to avoid losses.

Dr. Sara Osima, TARI Head of the Research and Environment Department, said they can now predict weather patterns precisely as the institute has procured and installed modern research infrastructure.

She also said they have enhanced the public communication department, using modern infrastructure and collaborating with the media to efficiently provide weather information to the public.

Lecturer from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Dr. Deo Shirima, said in ensuring improved food production in the country, they have established more than 20 centers across the country that work closely with farmers.

These centers also study challenges faced by farmers in those areas and develop solutions which answer the challenges.

Rose Mtui, the Environmental Research Manager at the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), said that the council focuses on implementing environmental laws to ensure they are helpful to farmers and other stakeholders.

She said they also have the responsibility of conducting research on the state of marine and terrestrial environments and publishing reports to make the community and stakeholders aware of the actual situation and can seek solutions.

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