Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mozambican farmers learn to choose the best rice varieties

Farmers get busy selecting best rice varieties during a field day held at the locality of Mucelo in Zambézia, Mozambique in April 2017.

ZAMBÉZIA, Mozambique - Farmers learned how to better select the best rice varieties during a field day in late April organized by the Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

About 40 participants came for the event, during which the farmers among them were given an introduction to concepts and principles that guide the breeding scheme at IRRI and the goals of the rice sector in countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The event was organized by the IRRI-Mozambique rice breeding team involving various partners in the rice value chain. Millers and representatives of district services for economic activities (SDAE) and some NGOs also took part in the event, in addition to the rice farmers who themselves represented several farmer associations.

The event included a visit to a field that had been set up with breeding trials and demonstration plots of promising rice lines. Twelve lines, including checks from the participatory varietal selection (PVS), were presented for final selection. Some of the promising lines in the demo plots were the same ones that had previously been selected by the participants themselves. Lines HHZ5-SAL14-SAL2-Y1 and IR 10L 203 were finally selected as the best, having high yield, long panicles, medium and long grains, medium plant height, and disease tolerance.

During the event, participants were able to share their respective experiences and come to appreciate new and well-performing varieties.

At the end of the field day, a recommendation was made that more of the participatory varietal selection trials be conducted in more locations.

IRRI and its partners hold field days to help rice farmers stay up-to-date on varieties, technology, and equipment that could help them improve productivity, thus empowering them to make informed decisions to improve their income and livelihood.

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