Farmers earn KES 3.2 billion from rice sales
21 June 2016, 14:08
Mwea - Rice farmers in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, are smiling all the way to the bank after receiving KES 3.2 billion from rice sales.
In 2012, the farmers managed to produce 40,104 metric tons of rice valued at KES 2.2 billion, with the production increasing to 62,088 tons in 2015.
The liberalization of the sector by the national government has brought fortunes to the farmers in the irrigation scheme, leading to the improved earnings.
With the entrance of independent paddy rice millers, farmers are free to sell their produce to any willing buyer.
Initially, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) was the sole handler of rice from the scheme.
The establishment of the KES 23 million rice mill plant at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Sagana town has also boosted the sector.
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The plant with a capacity of handling 100 tons per day has helped farmers to add value to their crop.
NCPB Chairman Geoffrey King’ang’i said that farmers' income has doubled since they are able to thresh their paddy rice after harvesting.
Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi praised efforts by the national government to establish the rice mill which he said would go a long way in supporting the development of rice cultivation in the County.
As part of a strategy to further increase rice production, Ndathi said the County has received 15 combined harvesters and 18 farm tractors to introduce mechanized rice cultivation in the Mwea irrigation scheme.
He added that the County department of agriculture has been facilitated with 10 motorcycles to improve delivery of extension services to the 6,186 households that are directly involved in production of rice in Mwea.
He said with such strategies in place, rice production is bound to increase in the short term.
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