In Summary
  • Whereas the wholesale price of rice for household consumption is at Sh50 a kilo for unmilled rice, seeds go for Sh75 a kilo.
  • Japanese government through a programme called Rice-based and Market-oriented Agriculture Promotion Project (RiceMAPP) introduced a water saving technology in 2012.
  • In the technology rice seedlings are transplanted to the fields at three weeks instead of the usual five.

Surrounded by rows of harvested rice stalks, Daniel Kibuchi stands on his paddy field at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme some 120km north of Nairobi.

The 59-year-old veteran rice farmer, who ventured into paddy farming in the 1970’s has witnessed the country’s largest rice irrigation scheme evolve from traditional farming practices to a technology-led production.

“Right now I specialise in growing rice for seeds which I sell to Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Co-operative. Growing seeds fetches more compared to producing for household consumption,” the father of four said, adding he gets all his farm inputs from the cooperative.

Whereas the wholesale price of rice for household consumption is at Sh50 a kilo for unmilled rice, seeds go for Sh75 a kilo, the farmer told us.

He mainly grows Basmati rice on his two-acre farm. Until recently, the irrigation scheme, which produces half of all Kenya’s rice, relied on the traditional techniques which involved random planting and flooding the field with water.

This technique involved intensive labour and wasted water, yet the yields remained low.

However, when the Japanese government through a programme called Rice-based and Market-oriented Agriculture Promotion Project (RiceMAPP) introduced a water saving technology in 2012, the conflict among rice farmers was taken care of and the field became more productive.

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