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Rice farmers face market crisis

BUSINESS NEWS
By Isaiah Gwengi | February 2nd 2021

File Photo: Rice workers during harvesting time

Siaya, Kenya: Rice farmers in Usonga Location, Siaya County are stranded with more than 3,000 bags of rice due to a lack of market and storage space.

Everlyne Tabu Akumu said farmers embarked on massive production of rice after they were promised by the Siaya County government of storage facilities and markets for their harvests.

"We got a bumper harvest but we are now stranded because we have nowhere to store the rice and no market as was promised," said Akumu.

Speaking to Standard Digital at Siriwo village in the Sumba sub-location, the farmers said they previously relied on customers from Uganda but were no longer coming to purchase the commodity.

The rice farmers stated that since the advent of coronavirus and Ugandan elections, the customers were no longer available.

"We are pleading with the County government of Siaya to move with speed and complete the construction of the storage facility to enable us to keep our produce safely even as we struggle to look for markets," added Akumu.

The farmers challenged the county government through the department of agriculture to fulfill its promise and help them source the market for their produce.

Siaya Agriculture executive Elizabeth Odhiambo said the county was building a Sh19 million rice drying store and that it was near completion.

"We were not looking for markets for the farmers' produce but creating linkages for them," Elizabeth said, adding that the growers had no problem selling their harvests.

He said the farmers usually sell unprocessed rice to millers in Busia and Kisumu.

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