RICE FARMERS in Bugarama marshland, Rusizi District, are expecting to significantly reduce on the high labour costs involved in traditional rice growing methods.
This follows the introduction of the ‘Direct Paddy Seeder’, a manually-pulled tool that plants rice seeds directly in line.
With the implement, rice nurseries and transplanting of seedlings will no longer be necessary, according to officials.
The tool, which was developed by Indian firm KSNM, is being introduced in Rwanda by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the beginning, pilot studies will be carried out in Bugarama, Gatsibo, Gasabo, Mukunguri and Kabuye marshlands and if they become successful, the tool will be introduced throughout the country, according to Udo Rudiger, IFDC’s Agribusiness Cluster Development Specialist.
According to experts, the hand-operated Direct Paddy Seeder (DPS) has proven to be a successful tool which can transform the way rice farming is done, contribute to boosting the production while at the same time reducing on the labour costs involved in the production process.
With the DPS, it is expected that seeds will be reduced from 60 kilos to only 20 per hectare while yield increases by at least 15 per cent. Other benefits include the reduction of time it takes rice to mature, with crops maturing within less than 10 days earlier than the traditional rice planting.
“If we get positive results after the pilot phase, we hope to put the tool on the agenda of agriculture development in Rwanda,” Rudiger said.
John Bosco Talemwa, a member of the mechanisation and irrigation taskforce at the Ministry of Agriculture said a final decision regarding the use of DPS will be made after results of trials are established.
Rice farmers in Bugarama marshland welcomed the innovation with hope that it would help them boost their production while drastically reducing the costs earlier involved.
The old method required twenty people to plant on a hector in a day however with the new method; it will take one person only one person will plant a hectare in five hours using the rice seeding machine.
The light plastic machine possesses two wheels and a pulling handle with drums containing holes that drops the seeds in eight rows at a time.
The official further observed that the new method helps the crops to mature in seven to ten days earlier than the old method.
Norbert Sendege, the in charge of crop production in the ministry said they were targeting to produce 170,000 tonnes by 2018 that will allow the country exporting rice to the neighboring and other countries.
Though the government has injected a lot in agriculture there is still a huge rice production deficit with rice import of 50,000 tonnes especially from Asia.
He further mentioned that they need to further embark on quality rice with the target on Aromatic type of rice from the Basmatic rice which is currently produced in the country.