The Namibian government has started implementing the second phase in the field trial of 15 Chinese rice varieties which are being tested to determine whether they can be adapted for farming locally.
The field trials, which started early last year, are underway at the Kalimbeza Green Scheme, one of several new government food security schemes in the northern Zambezi Region.
The trials are aimed at identifying the most drought-resilient and early maturing rice varieties that can be grown in dry-lands and floodplains of the riverine Zambezi region.
Project manager Patrick Kompeli told the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) news service that of the 15 rice varieties under test, only two would be adopted for local production.
“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 varieties, hence these trials,” Kompeli said.
Chinese agricultural experts have been deployed to support the project, which falls under a South-South Cooperation food security project jointly implemented by China, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Namibia government.
Local agricultural extension and technical workers who are helping with the implementation of the project have been trained in key crop trial processes that include land preparation and the use of modern soil quality and crop monitoring technologies.