News Archive
July 2024

State adding land under rice farming to help cut imports

The Ministry of Agriculture will increase it by 300k acres from 674k to 1m

In Summary

• 80 per cent of the rice consumed in Kenya is imported

• The high cost of production is affecting farming

Farmers at the water-logged Buruma rice fields in Taveta

The government has started plans to almost double the land under rice production to reduce annual imports, which stand at 80 per cent.

Under the Ministry of Agriculture, land under rice production will be gradually increased from 674,000 acres to 1 million over eight years.

To achieve this, the ministry said that it would address the issue of certified seeds, milling plants and ready markets for the farmers.

This came during a joint workshop for senior government officers from the ministries of Agriculture and Trade, whose objective was to reduce the high wage bill on food imports.

During the two-day workshop in Sawela Lodge, Naivasha, the ministries identified six value chains that need to be supported for the country to be food-secure.

Irrigation PS Ephantus Kimotho said the country is currently producing 234,000 metric tonnes of rice and importing another 700,000 metric tonnes every year.

He said the country has the potential to increase rice production, adding that the government is targeting 1.1m tonnes by 2032.

Addressing the press on the sidelines of the meeting, the PS said this would be achieved through irrigation, adding that the government has identified 100 major dams for construction.

“We have advertised 34 dams for construction, and of these, we have managed to get private partners to support 12 of them as part of moving away from rain-fed agriculture,” he said.

Agriculture PS Paul Rono said the ministry had identified tea, rice, cotton, edible oil, coffee and sugarcane as the six main value chain crops.

He said the country is currently importing 80 per cent of rice consumed in the country and 95 per cent of edible oils.

“The only way that the government will address the issue of food security remains in supporting farmers by getting subsidised farm inputs and a ready market for their produce,” he said.

Industry PS Juma Mukhwana said the government has identified 18 country-integrated industrial parks to process identified value chain crops.

“Under these integrated parks, the counties will target the major crop produced in the region, and this will reduce post-harvest losses and provide a ready market for farmers,” he said.

Trade PS Alfred Ombudo said the ministry is keen on markets that pay well and regularly to farmers who had for years suffered under the hands of middlemen.

“We shall be exploring the meat market in the Middle East, while developing tea packaging companies in the country as one of the value-addition plans,” he said. QR Code

Published Date: January 29, 2024

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