Upland rice In Africa: a guide for farming techniques
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CTA. 1987. Upland rice In Africa: a guide for farming techniques. Spore 9. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44636
Upland rice Macmillan (The Tropical Agriculturalist) a French series of practical field guides and textbooks
Through its activities CTA has shown its support for the production and dissemination of scientific and technical information. Its major goal is to improve relationships between institutes, universities, government departments and agencies involved in rural development in ACP countries. The language gap, particularly between English and French-speaking countries, has been one of the main obstacles to communication between researchers and rural development officers in these different areas. CTA not only contributes to the financing of publications for agricultural extension but places special emphasis on the translation of books and documents so as to facilitate information exchange. With this objective in mind, CTA launched the translation of the 'The Tropical Agriculturalist', a French series of practical field guides and textbooks intended for: - producers, farmers and farm managers - agricultural extension officers - students in advanced agricultural studies - teachers and lecturers - rural and community development programmes One of the first textbooks in this series is 'Upland rice', which will be published by Macmillan. It describes in detail upland rice farming in Africa, and covers the main aspects of farming systems, crop requirements, disease and weed control as well as harvesting and storage. About 16 million hectares worldwide are devoted to upland rice cultivation. Brazil, the world's leading producer of this type of rice, accounts for 4.5 million hectares. In Asia Upland rice covers approximately 9 million hectares which is only a small proportion of the total rice acreage, compared to Africa, where it accounts for 60 % of the rice acreage. One of the most useful characteristics of rice is the fact that it can be grown under very different environmental conditions, particularly from the point of view of water supply. Upland rice is primarily cultivated with rainwater on soils with a high water-holding capacity and is frequently found on sloping areas or hillsides. The most commonly found rice species in Africa is the large, traditional Oryza saliva, imported from Asia some centuries ago. Upland rice is generally grown by small farmers for their own needs. Knowledge of the rice growth cycle is important as it helps determine certain cropping techniques. It makes it possible to choose the sowing date for a given variety in order to adapt it to a specific climate. The adoption of a variety is determined by two principal criteria: suitability to the local ecology and cropping system and resistance to weeds and pests. There are basically three cultivation techniques used for upland rice: shifting, pioneer and fixed. Shifting cultivation is the most widespread traditional system found in Africa. The farmer clears a plot of land (which is often quite small and burns all the vegetation at the start of the rainy season. Soil preparation is generally confined to simply turning over the surface layer with a hoe. The sowing density is usually low and intercropping (with maize, cassava, yams or spices) is common. All activities are done by hand and only panicles are harvested. This type of production suffers from weed invasion and soil fertility tends to define, which obliges the farmer to abandon the plot after one or two years of exploitation. Rice may be grown as a pioneer crop in two ways. First, after land has been cleared, as an improved crop prior to the planting of a pasture mixture. Second, as a cover crop in young plantations of coffee, cacao, citrus and rubber trees. Fixed rice cultivation is more intensive and should observe a number of rules: fertilization, rotation with leguminous plants, measures to control weeds and erosion. In order to make a return on the investment in fertilizers, herbicides equipment and labour, varieties with yields of at least 2.5 tonnes/ha must be used. The main constraints in rice cropping are the control of weeds, drought and soil fertility. Birds are the major pests in Africa and blast is the most serious disease which attacks leaves and panicles. Once rice has been harvested and dried, the panicles have to be threshed. The traditional method consists of using sticks or flails. Today, fixed threshers are becoming more widespread. It is essential that rice be stored away from water and insects. In theory, properly dried and aerated rice keeps well and does not require any special treatment. This textbook, written in an easy-to read style, gives a technical prescription for the transfer from a traditional system practised by small holders to a more profitable cropping system. It thus emphasizes varieties and techniques such as rotation, fertilization and mechanization. These methods should be adopted as part of an integrated system, in accordance with environmental conditions and especially the technical and financial resources of farmers. Other titles in this series will include: 'Maize', 'Plantain Bananas', 'Cotton' and 'The Storage of Food Grains and Seeds'