× Business BUSINESS MOTORING SHIPPING & LOGISTICS DR PESA FINANCIAL STANDARD Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS

Rice variety exceeds pishori in production

By Joseph Muchiri | January 14th 2020

Farmers from Kabatiro area in Kirinyaga County harvesting the hybrid rice variety AT054 in December. They recorded a bumper harvest in December. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

Rice production in Kenya could increase if farmers adopt an improved variety after trials at Mwea, Kirinyaga County, established it produces high yields compared to the traditional pishori.

More than 100 farmers from Kabatiro who experimented the hybrid variety - AT054 - developed by Afritec Seeds Ltd, recorded a bumper harvest last December.

The hybrid rice was supplied to the farmers through a collaboration between African Agricultural Technology Foundation (ATTF), Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organisation (Kalro) and Integrated Community Organisation on Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (Icoseed).

Water deficiency

Icoseed Managing Director Patrick Gitari said the hybrid rice yielded up to two and half times compared to the traditional pishori.

Mr Gitari said whereas the famous pishori yields an average of 20 bags per acre, the hybrid recorded about twice that number with the best farmer attaining 60 bags.

“The hybrid matured two weeks earlier than the traditional pishori. This means in case of water deficiency it will not be very much affected. The aromatic nature of the traditional pishori has been its marketing point. The hybrid variety has the same aroma hence marketable,” he said.

He said in collaboration with partners, they are working to scale up adoption of the variety and reach 10,000 farmers in the next two years.

Peterson Maina who planted the hybrid on a pilot basis, said he harvested more than doubled in the same area where he previously planted other rice varieties.

Wilfred Wanjira, another farmer, said the new variety required less water and matured faster just as researchers said.

Stephen Thiga, a rice production expert, said in addition, the new rice variety is disease and pest-resistant.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Kenya produces 150 metric tonnes of rice annually whereas consumption is around 600 metric tonnes.

To bridge the deficit of rice, which is the third staple crop after maize and wheat, Kenya resorts to importation of about 450,000 tonnes of rice mainly from Pakistan.

Gitari called for greater adoption of improved varieties and technologies to increase rice production and reduce its importation, which would save the State cash,improve lives of farmers and create jobs.

Share this story
Uhuru urges investors to tap into blue economy
President Uhuru Kenyatta urging investors and business leaders to take advantage of the blue economy by investing in it.
Property developers ride on holiday homes wave
Short-term rents such as Airbnb have become popular with buyers who don’t reside in the houses throughout the year.