The Lake Basin Development Authority has purchased a Sh65 million rice miller for the Lake Basin Rice Mill in Kisumu County in a move to boost production of the crop in the Western region.
The new equipment that will be installed at the Kibos Factory is seen as an attempt to address the myriad challenges facing thousands of rice farmers in Western Kenya. The intervention will end the dependence on the old and inefficient machine that has been in use since the early 90’s.
Due to aging, the machine’s capacity had stalled output from 3 to 1.1 tonnes per hour raising the production costs. This has since crippled its ability to process the bulk of the paddy harvested in the area.
However, the players have expressed optimism in the newly acquired miller that is expected to bring down the cost of production and paddy processing. Hence, improve the quality of the company’s products and make them more competitive in the market.
LBDA Chairman Odoyo Owidi lauded the milestone saying it would contribute to the sustainability of rice agribusiness, poverty alleviation and realisation of food security in Kenya.
He disclosed that the installation of the miller had kicked off and would be unveiled in under two months to serve the communities around the Lake Region Economic Bloc.
The machine that has a crushing capacity of 4 tonnes per hour will drastically increase the production rate in the region and farmers are upbeat to find a ready market for their produce to boost their income.
LBDA obtains paddy from thousands of farmers from Busia, Migori, Homa Bay, and Kisumu Counties. Demand for rice has grown at more than 12 per cent compared to wheat and maize which are at 4 and 1 per cent respectively.
The rice mill produces grade one and two Pishori and Sindano rice varieties. Other by-products are bran meal, chicken feeds and husks sold through established distributors to schools, colleges, prisons and supermarkets.
It also does third party milling for individual growers and institutions like the National Cereals Produce Board, the Kenya National Trading Corporation, Kodiaga and Kibos prisons.
Kisumu County government has also put up a spirited effort to rev up the sector by allocating Sh30 million to procure a new rice mill.
The County Chief Officer, Department of Agriculture and Irrigation, Dr Paul Omanga said the new rice milling plant will be installed early next year to complement LBDA and the Western Kenya Rice Mill in Ahero.
With these interventions, the region would collect over 24,000 tonnes of paddy for milling every year.
By Robert Ojwang’