News Archive
June 2024

State to double acreage under rice production

Rice farmers prepare their lands for the planting season, the crop will be ready for harvesting and introduction to the market. [Timothy Kariuki, Standard]

The Ministry of Agriculture has announced plans to increase rice production from 674,000 acres to 1 million to reduce importation, which stands at 80 per cent.

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

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

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

Irrigation Principal Secretary Ephantus Kimotho noted that the country was currently producing 234,000 metric tonnes of rice and importing another 700,000 metric tonnes annually.

Kimotho said that the country had the potential to increase rice production and the government was targeting 1.1 million tonnes by 2032.

Addressing the Press on the sidelines of the meeting, the PS said that the government had identified 100 major dams for construction to increase the acreage of rice under irrigation.

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

Agriculture Principal Secretary Paul Rono noted that the ministry had identified tea, rice, cotton, edible oil, coffee and sugar cane as the six main value chain crops.

He announced that currently, the country was importing 80 per cent of rice 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 subsidized farm inputs and a ready market for their produce,” he said.

Industry Principal Secretary Juma Mukhwana said that the government had 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 Principal Secretary Alfred Ombudo said that the ministry was keen on markets that pay well 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 28, 2024

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