Kenyan rice farmers will be among the first beneficiaries of President Kenyatta’s visit to China after the Asian economic giant committed to offer training in modern large-scale production techniques.
A statement from the president’s media team Thursday said the China National Rice Research Institute, located in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has committed to set up a model farm and research centre in Kenya to help the country meet its food production goals.
This is expected to help Kenyan rice farmers improve their yield five-fold from the current 50 tonnes an acre.
“We are ready to share our expertise in rice production with Kenyan farmers. Cooperation in this area offers and important avenue to enhance our two countries’ relations,” said institute director-general Cheng Shihua.
President Kenyatta, who toured the institute, welcomed the offer saying it would bolster the government’s drive to make Kenya self-sufficient in food production.
China is the world’s largest producer of rice, accounting for about 26 per cent of global output and almost half of the country’s grain output.
“China has made a lot of progress in rice production. This is one area where we could collaborate to ensure our people have sufficient food at affordable prices,” Mr Kenyatta said.
The China National Rice Research Institute works on methods to improve rice yields, grain quality, pest resistance and cost-effective cultivation technologies.
Using modern farming techniques would reduce the cost of production ensuring farmers make higher profits.