By Chimwemwe Mangazi:
A report released by the Africa Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC) has shown that Malawi’s rice production has increased from 2,200 kilogrammes (kg) per hectare to 6,500 kgs per hectare.
According to the report, the development is as a result of Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI), a programme used in growing productive and robust plants.
Through the programme, farmers are taught to follow principles that underpin the SRI as an innovation.
AICC Project Manager for Market Access, Leonard Chimwaza, said farmers are adopting good agricultural practices.
“These good agriculture practices have led to proper crop growth of rice plants; hence, leading to improvement in rice yields.
Malawi rice, famous for its fragrance, is a household name in Southern and Eastern Africa. This has increased its potential to be one of the exportable crops globally.
“Stakeholders in the value chain of rice have started working together in designing business solutions to encourage the use of correct inputs, appropriate technology, good agronomy, investment in processing, commercialising byproducts and development of markets,” Chimwaza said.
National Rice Development Platform Chairperson, David Kamchacha, attributed the development to good working relationship between the private sector and the government.
He said stakeholders have intensified efforts to enhance reach to farmers across the country.
“It is very exciting because even the yield per hectare has increased from two tonnes to between four and six tonnes per hectare and we have the potential to produce 2.5 million tonnes of rice in the country if we put all the land that we can grow rice on to that use,” Kamchacha said.
Kamchacha said the world would require an additional 120 million tonnes of rice to feed the additional population, which is a huge market that Malawi can tap from.
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