• March 23, 2023 08:28

How The African Rice Was Forgotten And How It Can Be Grown


Sep 23, 2021

Can you believe it if someone told you that Africa is home to a rice species which was grown by our ancestors? To most of the world, rice connotes Asia and the vast agriculture of the far eastern countries. Indeed, humanity’s second major crop is from Asia and 90 percent of it is grown there. But rice is also African. A species of rice has been cultivated in West Africa for at least 1500 years. Some West African countries have, since ancient times, been just as rice-oriented as any Asian nation.

For all that, however, almost no one else has ever heard of this species. Asia’s rice is so advanced, so productive, and so well known that its rustic relative has been relegated to obesity even in Africa itself. Today most of the cultivated rice in Africa is of the Asian species. This should not be allowed to happen, African rice species are native to this continent and all it needs is to be appreciated and improved genetically to increase its productivity and disease resistance.

How To Grow The African Rice Without Irrigation

About 40 percent of the rice grown in Africa’s rice-producing countries relies on rain as the only source of water. Almost all of that area employs the Asian species, but west Africa still grows a small but significantly a huge amount of dryland African rice. In Kenya too, this rice can do well where other crops have failed to grow well. Farmers in areas such as Kisii county where rice growing has never been heard of. Indeed, it is a fact that almost all of Kenya’s geographic regions can support this rice except for the few arid regions.

The dryland variety of rice thrives in light soils wherever there is a rainy season of at least 4 months and minimum rainfall of  760mm per annum. It is often implanted with millet, maize, sorghum, cowpea, cassava, or even cotton. Surprisingly it matures within 90 to 120 days. Yields can average 450 to 900 kg per hectare but can go as high as 1600kg per hectare. Remember that the African rice species requires minimum fertilizer application and is very resistant to most diseases affecting the Asian rice.

Seeds for cultivation are available in most farm input supply stores and can be bought at fairly affordable prices. Why not grow your rice on the farm instead of buying rice at ludicrously high prices.


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I write about the human condition:what make's us who we are,who we can be and how to perfect ourselves.