Kenya's rice production triples in 7 years: official
29 April 2016, 14:06
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Kenya's rice production has tripled in the last seven years to nearly 150,000 tonnes in 2015, an official has said.
Rice production rose from 50,000 metric tonnes in 2008 to 149,661 tonnes in 2015, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Richard Lesiyampe, told a national rice stakeholders' forum in Naivasha town.
He however said the increased production was yet to meet a rising demand that currently stood at 540,000 metric tonnes.
Cheap rice imports have led to local farmers' "failure" to market their produce, according to the official.
"The government is committed to increasing rice production so as to reduce pressure on maize which is the country's staple food," Lesiyampe said.
He said the government through the National Irrigation Board was committed to reviving collapsed irrigation schemes, adding 200 schemes were in operation.
He identified some of the challenges facing the sector as inadequate irrigation infrastructure, low mechanization, limited skills and low access to market.
"Despite the challenges experienced by farmers, the rice sub-sector is on a dynamic growth path courtesy of the many interventions by the government," he said.