The State has set aside more than Sh.100 million to purchase rice from farmers operating under two irrigation schemes in Nyanza region.
The irrigation schemes include Kimira-Oluch in Homa Bay and Ahero in Kisumu County.
The Nyanza Regional Commissioner (RC), James Kianda, the President’s Delivery Unit Director, Sylvance Osele and Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA) officials, Raymond Omollo (Director) and Odoyo Owidi (Chairman) said the government supports the farmers to promote rice farming.
Speaking to farmers on Wednesday while on an assessment tour of Kimira-Oluch project in Homa Bay, Omollo said purchasing the rice from the areas would cushion
farmers from incurring losses due to lack of market.
At least 80 hectares of land is already under rice cultivation at Kimira-Oluch project.
The project covers more than 1474 hectares in Rangwe and Karachuonyo constituencies.
“This water project has big potential to support rice and other crop production. We’re here to assist farmers in addressing challenges they face during crop production,” Omollo said.
Omollo said the government will provide tractors to help in cultivating the land.
He said they will also provide fertiliser, spraying chemicals among other farm inputs to the farmers at affordable cost.
The director said the area has favourable climate, good soil and available water to support rice production.
The more than Sh.5.6billion Kimira-Oluch water project targets more than 3000 farmers.
“We purposely want to uplift small scale farmers not only from subsistence farming but to enable them achieve full economic benefits.
Modernising agriculture will increase farm activities and make Kenya food secure,” Omollo said.
Owidi said the farmers will be paid within two weeks after their crops are taken for milling.
He said they are going to start training farmers on modern farming practices to increase and better production.
The Chairman said rice farms will also be insured to avoid risk losses.
“Agricultural officers and experts will start training farmers in early April on pest and disease trends. They also are advised on how to control them,” Owidi said.
Kianda said the government supports the farmers operating under the project for continuous crop production.
He told farmersto work in groups for easy management.
“Kimira-Oluch irrigation schemes is one of the areas where the government wants its full utilization to enable it achieve the big four agenda which is food security,” Kianda said.
The officials urged the farmers also to diversify their farming activities.
“We appeal to farmers to not only utilise the water for crop production but livestock farming to increase their economic output,” he said.
A number of rice farmers led by Rose Akumu and John Omondi said they were optimistic there will be more of the crop production now with the availability of market.
By Davis Langat