President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to increase the price unprocessed rice from Sh45 to Sh85 per kilogramme following complaints from farmers.
The President directed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to implement the directive with immediate effect.
Speaking at Wang'uru Stadium in Kirinyaga County on Saturday, he told the CS to ensure that unprocessed rice prices are increased to enable farmers make profits.
The President assured farmers that their produce will be bought by Kenya National Trading Corporation and distributed to government institutions.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru had complained that for many years, farmers had been selling their produce at throw away prices.
“Due to influx of cheap rice from Pakistan and invasion of the Mwea Irrigation Scheme by brokers, our farmers have been suffering and they should be helped," she said.
Ms Waiguru called for banning of rice imports to protect local farmers from unfair competition.
She appealed to the President to intervene before the farmers give up on rice farming due to frustration.
“Our farmers do not have good market for their produce and they have been incurring heavy losses. They depend purely on rice farming to educate their children and meet other financial obligations and the government should come to their rescue," Ms Waiguru told the President.
President Kenyatta announced that the government has set aside Sh500 million as revolving fund to buy rice from farmers.
SH85 PER KILOGRAMME
"From now on-wards, farmers will receive Sh85 per kilo of paddy," he announced.
The President said his government is committed to ensuring that farmers no longer suffer due to lack of market for their produce.
He also directed that the Multi-million Mwea Rice Mills be revived to process farmers’ produce.
The Head of State also directed that subsidised fertilisers be availed to rice farmers to boost production.
On politics, he accused Tangatanga group allied to Deputy President William Ruto of inciting Kenyans against the Building Bridges Initiative.
He told Kenyans to ignore the group and support BBI. "BBI will bring peace and all Kenyans should back it,” he said.
Local MPs, Munene Wambugu (Kirinyaga Central), Kabinga Wathayu (Mwea) and Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu) attended the meeting.
Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru and Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici were also present.