Organisation breeds rice for highlands

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Farmers in a rice field. AATF has come up with rice that can be grown in highlands. Photo courtesy.

Farmers could soon grow rice away from river and lake basins, where flood irrigation sustains production, with the introduction of new variety that required minimum water.
The new variety from African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) can be grown under normal rainfall conditions as those of other crops like maize, beans, millet, wheat, among others.
The 17KKA1430270, which is on the final stages of trial at the Kisumu research centre, Ruta, can withstand low concentration of moisture in the soil to do well like off the water growing crops.
Dr Kayode Sanni of AATF said the aim of producing the hybrid id to increase food security and stop importation of rice from outside Africa.
The researcher said adaptable climate change tolerant crops are part of the solution to the African challenges, especially food shortage.
The hybrid is good in yields. It is expected to yield up to 1.6 tons per acre against the current 0.88tonnes per acre produced in Africa.
Rice is the second most populous food after maize in Kenya. But its cultivation is limited to the lake basin and other low-lying areas like Mwea and Lake Victoria. Rice grows in flooded areas.

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The hybrid promised to increase cultivation of the crop to elevated areas, a factor that would increase the total output of the crop for food security and commercialization.
Scientists say it consumes about two and half time the water required by wheat.