According to news, two cold-tolerant rice varieties have been released in Madagascar by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) under its Stress-tolerant Rice Research Project for Africa and South Asia (STRASA). These two varieties namely FOFIFA 183 and FOFIFA 184 were launched on May 22, 2015 in the presence of Madagascar’s Agriculture Minister and the Director Generals of FOFIFA and of Africa Rice.
As per sources, the central plateau region is a quite important rice growing area in the country, but rice production is affected very badly by cold weather. However, both new varieties are likely to help farmers to improve their productivity even under extreme weather conditions of cold. Since high-quality rice seeds are crucial for boosting rice production, the FOFIFA and AfricaRice, through the support of STRASA project, have produced about 5 tons of certified rice seeds to distribute amongst farmers.
Further, to boost the project, the government has also decided to intervene after the devastating cyclone Chezda, which destroyed lot of rice crop in Madagascar earlier this year. As per report, African island country produced around 4.3 million tons of paddy rice in 2014, which is about 19% more from 3.6 million tons produced in 2013 and all it was due to appropriate distribution of rains in the 2013-14. While, as for as USDA estimates is concerned, Madagascar is to produce approximately 2.56 million tons of rice basis milled (around 4 million tons, basis paddy), and to import around 300,000 tons in MY 2015-16 (May 2015 – April 2016) accordingly.