Rice Growing in Uganda
Rice is believed to have been first cultivated by Chinese about 10,000 years ago. Rice belongs to the plant a family that includes grass and bamboo. There are over 120,000 different varieties of rice including black and red strains as well as white ones. There are both dry land and wet land varieties of rice. Dry land varieties thrive on hillsides and in fields. Most of the world’s rice is a wetland variety which grows in irrigated paddies and rainfed paddies
Importance of rice
Rice is the world’s No.1 most important food crop ahead of wheat, corn and bananas. It is the chief source of food for more than half of the world’s population, and accounts for 20 percent of all the calories that mankind consumes. Majority of people in Asia rely on rice for more than 60 of their calories.
It is projected more than 60% of the world’s population will depend on rice for the calories requirement by 2025 and therefore the production of rice must increase to keep up with the anticipated demand. The demand for rice in Uganda is high and the major proportion of this demand is satisfied through imports of rice from Asia countries.
In Uganda, rice is becoming a primary food source for a bigger part of its population and therefore enhancing the sustainability and productivity of rice is becoming a priority requiring the commitment of both government and private sector.
Rice trends also point to a growing demand for Ugandan rice in the regional markets of DRC, Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi.
RICE Growing In Uganda
It is important to note that rice can grows can grow anywhere in the swamp and upland. Rice is mainly grown in Uganda as a cash crop in the swampy areas around Lake Kyoga. It is estimated that some 400,000 farmers are involved in rice production throughout the country.
Rice growing areas
Rice is mainly grown in two areas Kibimba in Bugiri District, Doho in Butaleja District and Olweny in Lira District. The rice production in metric tons by region is as follows:
Eastern Region 128,000
Northern Region 44,000
Central Region 2,200
About 90% of Uganda rice is produced in the Eastern and Northern regions
The following varieties of upland rice are available on the market:
• IRAT 112,
• NERICA 1
• NERICA 10
The Ugandan government has made a strategic decision to focus on rice cultivation, and especially on varieties of the new NERICA cultivar. The different NERICA varieties offer a number of advantages: they grow well on the uplands and are resistant to drought, their yield is 30 percent higher than that of local varieties, and they produce a long grain rice with good flavour and high nutritional content which matures in three months or less when the rains are regular
Advantages of Rice growing
• It is becoming a stable food for some people in Uganda
• A cash crop for number of families
• Raw materials for makers of other nutritional products.
• Helping the country to save foreign exchange
• The rice is used in making animal and poultry feeds
Improvement in the Volume and Quality of rice
The volume and quality of rice production in Uganda can be improved in the following ways:
• Supplying the farmers with farm implements for clearing the land and necessary inputs
• Using modern Irrigation techniques
• Using modern harvesting and rice process techniques.
• Capacity building among the farmers