Notes to broadcasters
Africa is the continent that has been the most severely affected by climate change, and it is already having difficulty feeding its population. But the Africa Rice Center has developed a hybrid species of rice known as NERICA – New Rice for Africa – by crossing African and Asian rice varieties. The African variety is a robust plant that adapts well to local conditions. As for the Asian variety, it has a much higher yield. A product of the crossing of these two varieties, NERICA rice combines the robustness of the African rice with the higher yield of the Asian rice.
NERICA varieties adapt well to the difficult production environments and low levels of farm inputs in Africa’s sub-Saharan rice-growing environments where small producers do not have the means to irrigate their fields and apply chemical fertilizers. Different varieties of NERICA grown on the plateaus and inland valleys of Benin where the rainfall is unpredictable and irregular have shown excellent results. It is the same for the varieties of rice grown at higher elevations. From inland valleys to plateaus and plains, African farmers have adopted the NERICA varieties in greater and greater numbers.
NERICA varieties are richer in protein than rice imported into Africa. In general, all varieties of NERICA taste good and have a very good aroma when cooked.
In some countries, some varieties of NERICA are still in the testing phase. However, other countries have reached the seed multiplication phase. Elsewhere, different varieties of NERICA are already produced on a large scale. This promotes the consumption of rice. As for the marketing of this rice, traders generally purchase the rice directly from producers to sell on the markets in major urban centres. In Togo, for example, you can find NERICA rice in supermarkets with very attractive packaging.
The following text is a dialogue with comments by NERICA rice producers which were recorded previously, combined with carefully chosen selections of traditional music. This program can help farmers who want to understand how they can adapt to climate change by producing different varieties of this rice and how to make a lot of profit from it.
There is increasingly more talk about climate change throughout the world, and you have probably even noticed that the weather is getting warmer. As the climate warms, you need crop and vegetable varieties that can tolerate heat and drought. Some crops such as cassava, millet and sorghum have been used for many years by farmers in drylands. Other crops are being improved through plant breeding. These include, for example, New Rice for Africa. Also known as NERICA, growing this rice is one of the best solutions to the risks arising from unpredictable rainfall. Tolerant to drought, NERICA rice is seen as a solution to adapt to climate change. There are varieties of NERICA rice which are suitable for growing on plateaus, in low-lying areas, and for irrigated agriculture.
In our program, we will focus on NERICA grown in plateaus. You will hear testimonies from farmers who have already tested the variety of NERICA grown in plateaus. Following the testimonies, you will hear the advice of a specialist on how to grow the rice.Musical interlude and progressive drop in the volume of the music as it slowly fades under the voice of female farmer 1
I am very satisfied with this rice – it provides me with lots of money. Since I started producing this rice, I have been able to buy myself a bed with a good mattress. That means that my husband only sleeps in my hut, much to the detriment of my co-wives. I am really very happy with the NERICA rice.Increase in the volume of the music and then it fades under the voice of male farmer 2
Dear friends and listeners, these farmers that you have listened to are certainly giving you the urge to produce NERICA as well, aren’t they? It’s a positive desire that deserves to be encouraged. For that, I would like you now to listen to Mr. Cissé Boubakary. He is a program assistant at the Africa Rice Center. He will give you a few hints on how to grow NERICA in plateaus.
To grow them efficiently, please follow good growing practices. Perform farming activities at the right time – namely seeding, weeding, applying fertilizer, harvesting and post-harvest activities.
For seeding, I recommend that you sow seed in lines from 20 to 30 centimetres wide after ploughing. This will make it easier to weed, apply fertilizer and harvest.
As for the seeds themselves, please apply to the rural development or extension officer in your area. Insist on very high-quality seeds or seeds that have been certified as pure with a high germination rate.Increase in the volume of the music and then it fades out under the host’s conclusion before it stops
Contributed by Savitri Mohapatra, Communications Officer/WARDA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: John FitzSimons, Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Canada; Moussa Sié, researcher and rice breeder in low-lying areas/ WARDA; Inoussa Akintayo, Program coordinator for the African Initiative on Rice /WARDA.
Houinsou Félix Sèdègnon: host of LA GRAINE, a radio program about agriculture on Radio Immaculée Conception.
Paul Van Mele: Researcher and Program Leader for Rural Learning and Innovation Systems/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Boubakary Cissé: Program Assistant, African Rice Initiative Program/WARDA
There are many NERICA varieties. There are 60 lowland varieties, and 18 upland varieties. In different WARDA countries, researchers made a participatory varietal selection in collaboration with farmers before identifying the varieties that respond best to the agro-ecological conditions of each zone. Thus, in regard to upland rice growing, NERICA 10 is the variety that was adopted in Uganda. On the other hand, in Mali, it’s NERICA 4, in Cote d’Ivoire it’s NERICA 1 and in Benin it’s NERICA varieties 1, 2 and 4. The attached tables list the different varieties adopted and released in different countries.