SOKOINE University of Agriculture (SUA) has started promoting rice commercialisation in line with the country's commitment to addressing food and nutrition security issues as reflected in the 2011/12-2025/26 plan.
SUA Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Tanzania Researcher, Prof Ntengue Mdoe said to achieve the goals, strategies to improve rice commercialisation for disadvantaged groups such as women headed households should be considered.
Prof Mdoe said according to APRA research findings, the local government authorities in collaboration with development partners and famers' groups should implement strategies, including improving access to agricultural productivity, enhancing inputs such as equality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides as well as improving access to the rice market.
He added that the nutrition education by local government community development workers was needed to create the awareness of farmers on the importance of dietary diversity especially for women, noting that this would address a decline in minimum dietary diversity among farmers.
However, Prof Mdoe said as far as policy intervention was concerned, emphasis should be put on the promotion of the use of hand hoe and ox-plough, not only because they were widely used
in rice farming, but also because they could be used in swampy areas where tractors were unable to operate.
The APRA programme is a five-year research consortium funded by the UK government and runs from 2016-2021.
Research is conducted to examine the impact of rice commercialisation on the food security status of rice producing households in Mngeta Division in Kilombero District, Morogoro Region.
About 30 per cent of rice produced in the country is by rice producing households and the remainder is sold in local and regional markets.
The consumption of rice is highest in urban areas because of its importance.
The government has identified rice as a priority crop and has been implementing the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) to commercialise rice farming