AfricaRice-Tanzania team was honored to participate in the Nane Nane agricultural fair, held in Morogoro, Eastern Zone, Tanzania, 1-8 August 2016 and was selected as the second best exhibitor among research participants. The first winner was Ilonga Research Center.
The Nane Nane agricultural fair is held annually across Tanzania in recognition of the important contribution that farmers make to the national economy. In total, 57 companies participated in the 2016 Nane Nane exhibition in the Eastern Zone.
New technologies, ideas, discoveries and alternative solutions concerning the agricultural sector are showcased at the annual Nane Nane exhibitions, which also offer an opportunity to get valuable feedback from farmers and other users.
The AfricaRice booth displayed posters and publications on rice innovation for Africa, rice varieties and prototypes of four types of mechanical weeders. The RiceAdvice app developed by AfricaRice was also extensively demonstrated and videos on weed management were projected.
Several farmers association visited the booth and learnt about rice production, including variety selection according to rice ecology; mechanical and chemical weed management; list of AfricaRice released varieties; fertilizer application and harvesting. DVDs for weed management and Striga management were provided to each farmer group leader so that he/she could share the knowledge with other farmers in their villages.
The AfricaRice exhibition was set up and managed by Elke Vandamme, Agronomist, with the assistance of Leah D. Mwakasege, Research Assistant; Allen Lupembe, Research Technician; Sigmund Mujuni, Research Technician; and BSc. students of the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) working with AfricaRice. Collaborators included Josey Kamanda, Michael Winklmaier, George Mgendi, Laurencia Kiringo, Kapona Ismail and Salum Salum.
“Farmers were very happy to see the mechanical weeders and asked AfricaRice how they can procure these weeders from the market. They also requested AfricaRice to develop transplanters and harvesters because manual sowing/transplanting and harvesting are difficult,” said Ms Mwakasege. “Everyone was interested in the RiceAdvice tool but most of the farmers here want a Swahili version of RiceAdvice.”
The farmer groups requested AfricaRice to introduce an aromatic and disease-resistant lowland rice variety with good milling quality that can compete with SARO 5 (TXD 306), the most widely-grown lowland variety in Tanzania. They also requested AfricaRice to follow up on the seed system to make sure that all released varieties would be available on the market.
Representatives from the government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, notably the Agriculture Council of Tanzania (ACT), which is the umbrella organization of the agricultural private sector in the country, also visited the AfricaRice booth and explored possibilities of strengthening collaboration. Visitors also included researchers, students and academicians.