Characteristics of rice produced under direct and indirect SRI practices in Chimala Area in Mbarali District Tanzania

Author(s): Zacharia Saimon Katambara, Marco Mng’ong’o, Consolatha Chambi, Zacharia Malley

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Abstract: The current status of rice production in Chimala Area in Mbarali is dominated by conventional rice growing practices with limited adoption of the system of rice intensification (SRI), which has been reported of having more advantages. This study evaluated the characteristic of rice produced under SRI and conventional practices in Chimala Area in Mbarali District of Mbeya Region in Tanzania. The evaluation considered the farm management practices, rice yields and the characteristic of the rice grains. The unlevelled characteristics of the farms and the variation of the soil influence the rice yields and the quality of the grains. The transplanting age of the seedling was within the age limit preferred when SRI practices are implemented and the limited water availability for conventional rice growing practice necessitated the intermittent wetting and drying of the rice fields which is preferred for SRI practices. The application of agrochemicals such herbicides limit the aeration of the root system and the development of a healthy roots system. Bird scaring is among the activities which increased the production cost of rice grown under SRI practices. Rice yields under SRI practices where more than 16ton/ha against less than 8ton/ha for conventional rice growing practices. The rice grains grown under SRI practices was observed to be suitable for seeds. With regard to milling, conventionally grown rice produced more good rice (69%) SRI (51%) grown. However, the large percentage of husks (24%) likely suggest that rice grains produced under SRI are more protected and further provide evidence as a good rice seed producing practice. The quality of cooked rice indicate that rice produced under SRI practices has higher aroma and fragrance when compared to that produced under conventional practices. Further studies should consider the effect of the number of seedling per hill, application of herbicide instead of applying push weeder and the suitability of using by-product, rice husks as a source of energy.