• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Around twenty varieties of rice are currently being grown


Apr 16, 2024

BUJUMBURA, April 16th (ABP) – Rice research has focused on varieties adapted to the country’s different ecologies: low altitude (Imbo plain, Kumoso depressions), medium altitude (Gitega, Karusi and Ngozi), Dr Privat Ndayihanzamaso, head of the research component on crop pests at the Burundi Institute of Agronomic Sciences (ISABU), told ABP.

Dr Ndayihanzamaso has been working at ISABU for 15 years, within that component, where he has worked partly on rice cultivation from 2020 to 2023, and has identified other aspects to be targeted, including yield, fertilisation, drought resistance, fortified organic varieties and aromatic varieties preferred by consumers.

Some twenty varieties of rice are currently grown in the country.  According to Mr Ndayihanzamaso, around 100 varieties of rice have already been approved by ISABU researchers since rice was introduced to Burundi. However, the varieties are getting older and are being replaced by others that are being improved at ISABU. At present, there are only around 20 varieties left, improved after ageing. Around ten varieties of rice are grown at medium altitude, compared with 5 varieties at low altitude. Two rice varieties with aromatic qualities, namely “Buryohe” and “Super”, are currently preferred, even though they are very old and not very productive, according to the researcher.

As far as fortified organic varieties are concerned, only one is available, while there are two drought-tolerant varieties.

As for hybrid rice, imported from China, eight varieties have been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture. However, the researcher believes that research in Burundi has not fully mastered that new technology, since it cannot be reproduced locally. According to Dr Ndayihanzamaso, the research community is afraid of becoming dependent.

He would like Burundian researchers to be able to master the technology of hybrid rice seed production. He believes it will be possible to develop other clean varieties, which is not yet the case.