Namibia bets on Chinese rice varieties to boost production
WINDHOEK, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's national flagship Kalimbeza Green Scheme Irrigation Project in the northeastern part of the country is running trials of 15 Chinese rice varieties to test adaptability, said project manager Patrick Kompeli on Monday.
The Chinese rice varieties, if adaptable, are envisaged to boost local food production and further strengthen crops' resilience to climate change.
"Our overarching goal is to produce quality rice to feed the nation and further reduce imports of rice. This can only be achieved if we plant the best and climate resilient variety, hence the trials," said Kompeli.
Chinese agricultural experts deployed at the project extension under the South-South Cooperation agreement between China, Food and Agriculture Organization and Namibia are at the helm of this transformation.
Chinese expert Deng Zhengrui said that the 15 rice varieties under trial are from China, a country renowned for rice production.
"From the 15, we will identify the two most adaptable Asian varieties," he said.
The process leading to the trials was extensive, according to Deng.
"We had to provide extensively train local technical workers at the project on all processes including land preparation and technology usage ahead of implementation," added the expert.
In the interim, an irrigation system and wet shade is being engineered on 0.2 hectares of land at the project for this purpose, and is expected to be expanded to one or more hectares of land overtime.