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Farmers get rice seeds after incurring Sh4m loss

By James Omoro | July 15th 2020

Officials of the Jared Otieno Foundation distribute rice seeds and fertiliser to farmers at Kohinga village, East Kochia Location in Rangwe Constituency. Farmers’ crops were destroyed by hailstones. [James Omoro, Standard]

More than 100 rice farmers whose crops were destroyed by hailstones in Rangwe constituency have received free rice seeds and fertilizer.

The farmers from Kohinga Rice Production bloc in East Kochia Location lost rice worth Sh4 million in the incident which occurred on June 28. The rice was due for harvesting.

But the farmers now have a reason to smile after businessman Jared Otieno gave them rice seeds to plant in their 1200 acre farms.

Otieno gave the farmers 15 bags of rice seeds and 15 bags of fertiliser through the Jared Otieno Foundation.

The foundation Chairman Ely Oyier and co-ordinator Hezron Orata distributed the products at Kohinga village on Wednesday.

"We assessed the level of damage and discovered that the farmers incurred huge financial losses. That is why we intervened to reduce their suffering," Oyier said.

Orata urged residents of the county to develop the spirit of helping people affected by catastrophes.

"You don't have to be an elected leader in order to help people. My appeal goes to both elected and non- elected leaders to rescue victims of disasters," Orata said.

The farmers expressed optimism that the seeds will help them recover part of the losses they incurred.

According to the representative of Kohinga Rice Farmers Bloc Mika Yogo, the distributed seed variety will take two months to mature, contrary to a popular variety in the area that takes three months.

Yogo said many farmers were so adversely affected and that they could not afford rice seeds.

"We expected bumper harvests but the hailstones destroyed all of it in the farm. We were left with nothing to start with," said Yogo.

Yogo said it will be difficult for them to repay loans after the crop was destroyed.

"Many farmers took loans for rice production but we don’t have any means of repaying this disaster befell us," he added.

The beneficiaries expressed hope that the seeds will transform their lives.

"We thank Jared Otieno for what he has done to us. We now have something with which we can start rice production," said Hellen Atieno, a beneficiary.

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