Chembe District Crop Husbandry Officer Choolwe Himulonga is optimistic that more farmers in the District will appreciate the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) varieties that are being promoted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Mr Himulonga has attributed the resistance among farmers to the new varieties to farmers in Chembe who are used to the super MG variety commonly known as Mongu Rice.

Mr Himulonga explained that with climate change it is important that farmers learn new varieties which are grown in upland which the rice dissemination project is promoting as opposed to common varieties grown in dumbo areas.

Speaking to ZANIS in an interview, Mr Himulonga said the super MG rice does not perform well in upland areas hence the introduction of NERICA in the district.

He explained that the new variety is also expected to give farmers in upland areas an opportunity to grow rice thereby increasing the cultivation and yielding of rice in the district.

He revealed that currently the harvest is between 1.5 tonnes of rice per lima but that with the introduction of NERICA, chances are that the yield will go to above four tonnes of rice per lima.

Mr Himulonga further revealed that NERICA is an early maturing variety that only takes between 115 and 120 days compared to super MG which takes between 140 and 160 days.

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