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Rice growers encouraged to embrace new varieties

Migori Rice farmers have been encouraged to embrace the new rice varieties to help boost their annual production.

Speaking during a rice field day at the Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme in Nyatike, Migori County Chief Officer for Agriculture Linus Origa said that new rice varieties developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRL) in conjunction with the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) will help the farmers to experience an improved yield.

The new variety namely Mkombozi (08FAN10) and CSR36 mature within a period of 95 to 105, yield more, and are more tolerant to salinity. The CSR36 rice variety is a long slender grain, non-sticky rice that separates on cooking and widely appealing to rice consumers in Kenya

According to KALRO trials for new climate-smart high-yielding rice varieties, the wide adoption of CSR36 by rice farmers in Migori and Tana River will offer an opportunity to utilise the salt affected areas for rice production and to significantly increase rice production and set the country free from the ballooning rice imports.

Origa said that the new variety will upscale the adoption of climate smart high yielding rice for increased productivity, income generation, and food security in Kenya. He encouraged the Lower Kuja rice growers to adopt the new varieties to improve production in the scheme.

The county official also called upon the farmers to register with the national fertilizer subsidy programme to help them curb the high costs involved in the general production of rice and other crop farming activities.

The stakeholders from the IRRL and KALRO had the opportunity to take the Nyatike rice farmers through demonstration farms in the scheme where they consequently unveiled the two improved high yield rice varieties.

The five billion Multi-irrigation project that was started in 2011 by the national government will place over 19,000 of semi-arid and flood prone land under irrigation to increase rice production in the country.

In 2022 the scheme opened 1,200 acres of land for paddy with an estimate of over 5,000 tonnes harvested and Sh200 million generated.

The lower Kuja irrigation scheme was also created to boost rice production in the lake region basin and ensure the country is food secure by 2030.

By Geoffrey Makokha

 

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