Rice farmers in Nyando, Kisumu County will benefit from 22.4 tonnes of seeds worth Sh6 million for the current planting season.
This comes as a relief to the rice growers who recently incurred losses estimated at Sh400 million after River Nyando bursts its banks causing devastating floods which destroyed 7,500 acres of paddy.
Kisumu Agriculture CEC Gilchrist Okuom told the Nation that the county government has acquired hybrid seeds from Kitale and Mwea for the rice farmers.
"We already have 2.4 tonnes of Arize Gold rice variety bought from Kenya Seed Company in Kitale at Sh2 million. The bags of seeds are at the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) Ahero station," said Mr Okuom.
RICE FROM MWEA
"We expected 20 tonnes of IR variety seeds from MIAD, Mwea. The IR seeds are still held up in Mwea due to some administrative logistics and could be arriving any time,” he stated.
The seeds will serve about 5,000 rice farmers in Nyando Sub-County.
"We are targeting to sell the produce to the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) who have allocated Sh660 million for the purchase of IR variety for schools, prisons and hospitals," said the Agriculture CEC.
Recently, NIA expanded the rice irrigation scheme farm by 2,200 acres.
MORE FARMERS RECRUITED
NIA Western Kenya Senior Manager Joel Tanui said they have put Mbega and Kabong'o areas under irrigation for rice production.
"Both Mbega and Kabong'o irrigation schemes will cover 1,200 acres and 1,000 acres respectively. We have recruited additional 2,400 rice farmers," said Mr Tanui.
He, however, noted that the farmers need fertilisers along with the seeds.
"Aside from the seeds, fertilisers are crucial to boost rice production," he said.
Last year, NIA doubled the acreage under rice in Ahero and Kano irrigation schemes.
Mr Tanui said they will take advantage of the construction of Koru-Soin multipurpose dam to boost irrigation.
“The dam will supply adequate water throughout the year,” he said.
Despite these efforts, rice farmers have to deal with the destructive quelea birds that periodically attack paddy fields.
"We have discussed with farmers to plant rice between July and December, the off season for the birds. We realised between February and May their numbers are overwhelming and thus farmers incur a lot of losses," said Mr Tanui.