Rice farmers in Kirinyaga County have received 13 tons of high-quality rice seeds from the government for this season’s planting.
They include 10,000 kilograms of Basmati rice seeds and 3,000 kilograms of hybrid variety which will be distributed among 1,000 farmers to be planted on approximately 1,000 acres of land.
Governor Anne Waiguru thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for the seeds donation which was delivered through the State Department of Crops Development and Agriculture Research. She was addressing Members of County Assembly and farmer’s representatives at Sagana.
Saying that the seeds will be distributed immediately to the farmers to enable timely planting, the Governor noted that identification of the beneficiaries was done through collaboration between the county’s Department of Agriculture, the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) and farmers across the rice-growing wards in Mwea.
The Governor said that the initiative will complement the efforts by the County Government in promotion of rice production which include coordination of water provision services in an equitable manner across the rice scheme and improvement of the road network within the scheme in order to ease transportation of rice and farm inputs.
The farmers also receive extension and advisory services from the County Government in order to promote good agricultural practices for increased production as well as collaborate with other stakeholders for improved production and marketing of rice. She also noted that the county leaders have planned to meet the Cabinet Secretaries in charge of Agriculture and Trade in order to forge a lasting solution to rice marketing woes that have faced rice farmers in the county.
There has been an outcry that the influx of cheap rice imports have disadvantaged Mwea rice farmers whose good quality rice lies in the factory for lack of market and when they sell they are forced to do so at throw away prices. Kirinyaga is the largest rice-growing county in Kenya with Mwea irrigation scheme having 26,000 acres under rice grown by about 7,000 farmers. The total annual rice production in the scheme is estimated at 113,000 metric tons and there exists a potential for enhanced production.
Rice has been one of the priority value chains that support the Big Four Agenda pillar on Food Security and Nutrition.