Call edition 2012

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Intensification of rice cultivation in South-East Tanzania

Annemie MAERTENS student laureate

°1976 Belgium
Bio-engineer in agronomy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, 1999

Intensivering van de rijstteelt in Zuidoost Tanzania

Annemie Maertens graduated in 1999 as bio-engineer in agronomy at the Catholic University of Leuven with a thesis titled : "Intensification of rice cultivation in South-East Tanzania". This research is part of a project on small scale irrigation farms in South-East Tanzania, the goal of which is the sustainable yield increase of rice production by small farmers.
The author investigated how available irrigation water can be used more efficiently and how more sources can be utilized. More specifically she checked what bottlenecks are hampering this evolution.
Furthermore she examined the problems of rain fed crops, showing that exposure to drought results in yield loss. She calculated that small bunds around the fields can limit strongly this stress caused by drought, at least on the clay soils. By means of a cheap hand pump the farmer can increase irrigation using water of the many rivers and lakes in the region. It remains necessary, however, to plant short-season varieties and to take into account the dangers of nematodes and/of salinity.