TRIAL runs conducted in Huye district on two new rice varieties have proven successful and could help boost rice production, it has emerged.
The trials have been carried out by Chinese experts at the China-Rwanda Agriculture Technology Demonstration Centre (C-RATDC) in Rubona, Huye District.
The centre is a joint initiative by the Government of Rwanda and the People’s Republic of China and aims at providing advanced technologies for Rwanda to enhance food security, increase income for farmers and promote environmental protection.
Experts at the centre said on Thursday that they have tested the two varieties, Jinshan 28 (paddy rice) and Jinshan 1 (upland rice), for two consecutive seasons and results were impressive.
The two varieties of short grain rice are cultivated in China and experts were testing whether they could fit the Rwandan soils and climate.
After the trials, it emerged that the varieties could yield up to six tonnes per hectare, a quantity experts say is far beyond the current production. The varieties have also proved to be disease resistant, the experts said.
Farmers have been harvesting up to two tonnes per hectare with the ordinary variety.
Lin Zhansen, the Director General of the Centre, told The New Times on Thursday that they plan to bring in new technologies and best practices for the benefit of local farmers.
“Rice is important for food security,” Zhansen said at a special Rice Field Day organised in Rusuri-Rwamuginga Marshland, in Ruhashya sector, where the varieties have been tested.
The day was a special occasion for the Chinese experts to demonstrate the results of their trials. It attracted dozens of farmers, local leaders and actors in the rice farming.
“We are introducing some new techniques and new varieties in order to increase rice production,” Zhansen added.
“We want to let more farmers and technicians to come and look at these new varieties,” he said.
Louis Butare, the head of the Southern Zone Division at the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), said they are going to continue studying the productivity of the varieties before rolling them out across the country.
He said though it seems clear that the varieties yield much production, they need to make sure that they can adapt elsewhere in the country before disseminating them.
Lab tests will also be carried on the rice to determine whether it does not pose any health risk, Butare said.
“We should submit the varieties for customary procedures before dissemination,” he said.
He hailed the Chinese experts for their contribution towards uplifting the lives of farmers.