Tule Na Bwana Rice

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Tule Na Bwana Rice

In Kiswahili, tule na bwana literally translates as, “to be eaten with the husband,” because this extremely fragrant rice variety is considered of such high quality that it must not be eaten on its own, but shared with loved ones. It is a long grained rice, but smaller and shorter than many other rice in the Indica family. The seeds have been handed down in families for generations, and was even documented by traders from the Lumabashi area, who imported the variety to the capital city from the production area in Northern Katanga during the Belgian colonial era (1885-1962). The exact origin of this variety is not known, but it displays characteristics of belonging to the Oryza glaberrima species of African rice domesticated 2000-3000 years ago.   Tule na bwana is produced in villages, such as Magenge, Kasenge, Kabimba, Nyunzu, Katibili and others, in the Tanganika district in southern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is difficult to find sold outside of these areas, because production is low (less than one ton per year), and it is often grown for home consumption among an estimated 200 families. It is mainly consumed in the months immediately following the harvest, in June, July and August. This variety is at risk of extinction for many reasons. Its growth cycle (six months) takes longer than improved, imported varieties that can be sold after just three to five months, and the taller plants can be more easily damaged by wind or flooding. Furthermore, local processing facilities are rare in the production region, meaning that the rice sold on the local market is often not properly sorted or dried, meaning that it cannot be sold for a higher price. Farmers are instead looking to shorter cycle crops and corn as a source of income, meaning that the unique tule na bwana rice may be lost among future generations of farmers in the area.

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Cereals and flours