Understanding on the status of paddy production and productivity in the 78 BRN irrigation schemes in Tanzania is needed to cope with projected changes with a view to address economic hardships and food security in selected regions of eastern and western Tanzania. The aim of this study was to assess the status of production and productivity of rice grown in the 78 selected BRN irrigation schemes; quantity of agro inputs and their costs and per cent of famers using the inputs during the dry and wet seasons. Three groups of farmers in 4 replicates were interviewed from each of the 78 BRN irrigation schemes. Data on the area under cultivation, quantity and costs of agricultural inputs, cost of production, yields and market price were collected using structured questionnaires. Data analysis was performed using the software of STATISTICA program 2007. Fisher’s least significant difference (LSD) was used to compare treatment means at P ≤ .05 (Steel and Torrie, 1980). Descriptive statistics including percentages and means were similarly used for analysis.
The results indicate that during the wet season paddy was grown on a total area of 66,139 ha compared with 2,824 ha grown during the dry season. Results also showed that Mbarali District had 28 per cent of the total area under paddy cultivation during the wet season compared with 23, 17 and 13 per cent of the total area for Kilombero, Mlele and Mpanda Districts respectively. Data also indicate that BRN irrigation schemes in Mvomero District cultivated 51 per cent of the total paddy area during the dry season probably due to reliable source and supply of irrigation water. Out of 78 BRN irrigation schemes, 59 with 7,189 farmers from Mbarali, Mlele, Kilombero and Mvomero Districts received 545 tons of different agricultural input subsidies. The data also shows that 4,367,234 kg of Urea was used with overall total cost of TZS 4,532,366,000 during the wet season. Similar trend was observed during the dry season. This quantity and the overall total costs were higher compared with FYM, Minjingu, DAP and CAN. On the average, the main fertilizers were used by between 29 and 46 per cent of the farmers in the irrigation schemes. Compared with other agrichemicals, results showed that 89,907 litres of 2,4-D were used during the wet season by farmers from 39 BRN irrigation schemes. During the dry season, 8,158.3 litres of 2,4-D herbicide corresponding to TZS 177,473,000 was used by more farmers compared with other pesticides.
The overall total mean yield and price of rice in the 78 BRN irrigation schemes during the wet season was recorded as 3.84 t ha-1 and 539,343 TZS ton-1 respectively. During the dry season, the overall total mean yield of rice was 4.2 t ha-1 with corresponding mean price of 557,676 TZS ton-1. The overall total mean variable costs (TVC) during the wet and dry seasons were 1,102,500 and 1,155,000 TZS ha-1 respectively. The overall NR during the dry season in the BRN irrigation schemes was 1,162,870 TZS ha-1. Relative to other districts, results showed that in the wet season, ARR was significantly (P ≤ .05) greater in Mbarali (138.5%) district and 323% in Kilombero district during the dry season. These results forms a baseline data from which BRN project can use to help in sustainable production and a useful pathway for interventions on the improvement of rice production and utilization, harnessing its contribution to food and income security for sustainable development and livelihoods.