MWEA, KENYA: Mechanisation of rice farming at Mwea Irrigation Scheme in Kirinyaga County is now a reality though in small scale.
The mini combine harvesters introduced in the expansive scheme a year ago have completely revolutionised the traditional harvesting method of the crop.
According to Peter Muchiri, a farmer in the area, the technology has brought into the scheme efficiency, time saving and increased yields.
He says the machine is able to harvest an acre of grain within half an hour.
''In two hours, the machine has completed harvesting, threshing, winnowing and packing of the crop into the bags from the four acres each farmer owns under the National Irrigation Board (NIB) at the rate of 30 minutes per acre'' Muchiri said.
He said he decided to buy his own harvester from Japan at a cost of Sh2.1 million which he leases to other growers at Sh5,000 per acre.
Other benefits the farmers are reaping from the mechanised agriculture is the short time it takes to harvest an acre of paddy rice with only three people manning the machine.