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Sierra Leone News: As WAAPP introduces new type of rice planting… Farmers hope to produce more

Adikalie Kamara, one of the farmerSystem of Rice Intensification (SRI) plot programme is a new type of rice planting that has recently been introduced at the Rokupr Agricultural Research Center in Kambia.
It is also all over the country to that of the normal farmer based production which they were used to.
This system was incorporated from Madagascar and introduced into Sierra Leone with the trials commencing last year  aimed at large rice production and the use of less chemical fertilizers during the production.
This system, according to Dr. Bert Meertens, Rice Research Coordinator, Rokupr Research Center, West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme  (WAAPP),said this application is being adopted all over the country and it uses organic fertilizers otherwise known as palm kennel cake and that the process includes the planting of rice different from what used to obtain when the planning was cluster.
With a single seedling, it can yield approximately over 200 seeds per panicle. The Coordinator said this represents a huge difference between the farmers based to the SRI system.
Adding that the famer based process used to yield 1.8 tons per hectare as against 15 tons per hectare using the SRI system which represents a huge difference in terms of production of rice. “This means there will be huge turnaround of rice production throughout the country using the mangrove or low land ecology.
He said all the farmer needs to do is patiently plant the single seed with wide space between them with water drainages which will allow the flow of water.
However, the process is labour intensive since they will need more time to plant each seedling unlike the other process.
He emphasized the production of rice used during this process which he said entails more rice production using less seeds. Adding that, when once this pilot programme becomes successful, then  farmers will not be using more seeds. He disclosed that the difference between the Sierra Leone pilot and the Madagascar one, the difference is that in Sierra Leone, the process is that it is done without complete water management.
A farmer of two wives and six kids at Rotifunk, Gbile Dixion Chiefdom  that has been engaged in farming for over 20 years, Adikalie Kamara, said he is happy for the new method of planting which he said he started last year on just one hecter of land.
He said the Nerica L 19 rice variety is what they received from the research and they only started the process and from the trial this is much better compared to the farmer -based system.
The farmer maintained that ever since he started farming, this process is very good in terms of yields and that although it is time consuming, after harvest the farmer will get a reward for their hard work.
The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAP) and Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSD) together with journalists from both the print and electronic media have undertaken a tour of the agricultural research on rice and cassava and the increase production of agricultural commodities by 20% and sales by 10%.
This is done through production of drying floors, construction of roads and bridges.
These two projects are being funded by the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and it is aimed at showcasing the impacts of the government of Sierra Leone and WAAPP projects in the country under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security. The team will visit four projects areas in Kambia, Makeni and Kono.
By Betty Milton
Thursday February 13, 2014

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