Zim evaluates rice production


ZIMBABWE is evaluating the feasibility of commercial rice production with a Government delegation expected to go on a familiarisation mission to Egypt to acquaint itself with technology and viable methods of growing the cereal.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Cropping Production) Davis Marapira said he would next month lead a team of experts from his ministry to familiarise with rice production in one of Africa’s largest producer. Zimbabwe is a net importer of rice and spends about $150 million annually to import the cereal.

“We have done our preliminary research, which have shown us that we can produce rice using hybrid varieties without any problem. I will lead a team from the ministry to Egypt to familiarise with their technology and understand how we can do it here.New rice varieties needs a lot of water in the first two months and we have sufficient water (to support rice production,” deputy minister Marapira said.

With hybrid varieties, Egyptian farmers have improved average rice production to almost 10 tonnes per hectare. Rice has become a priority crop in Africa with many countries looking at expanding production of the crop to achieve food self-sufficiency. At the fifth Presidential Youth Interface Rally in Chinhoyi about two months ago, President Mugabe indicated the country should seriously consider rice production.


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