× Digital News Videos Africa Health & Science Opinion Columnists Education Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Planet Action Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman 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


New variety to triple production of rice and raise farmers' income

By Renson Mnyamwezi | Jan 6th 2022 | 2 min read

A farmer at the rice field in Mathangauta scheme. [Courtesy]

Hundreds of rice farmers in Taita Taveta are hoping for better yields this year following the introduction of drought-tolerant rice varieties by the County government.

According to the county Agriculture executive, Dr Davis Mwangoma, the new variety would triple rice production in the area from the current 4,600 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes per year.

He said the new variety also meets the food and nutrition demands of both local and international markets. Rice is the main cash crop in  aita sub-county.

The crop was introduced to the area by the white settlers to feed the British soldiers who were fighting the Germans from Tanzania during the First World War.

Mwangoma said the new variety would be produced for the mass market to reduce the county and country’s reliance on imports.

He said the variety can also be grown in non-traditional rice growing areas as it requires less water, making it suitable for both irrigated and rain-fed lowland areas.

“We are set to triple the rice production annually in a bid to achieve the nutrition, food security and income of the local community,” Mwangoma said.

The CEC said the county was working with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and Taita-Taveta University (TTU) for sustainability purposes.

“The county administration in collaboration with TTU is also carrying out performance trials of the best-suited rice variety in the whole county. The varieties include rain-fed upland rice and paddy rice which relies on irrigation,” he said.

Currently, local farmers grow Japan and Saro series rice varieties, said Mwangoma, adding the new variety comes as the county is still grappling with persistent food shortages.

“We have also partnered with the national government in developing a mechanism to not only produce more rice in the area but also salvage farmers from exploitation by middlemen who have been purchasing the produce cheaply and selling at exorbitant rates,” said Mwangoma.

Leonard Amir, a rice farmer in Kitobo village in Taita complained to Mwangoma that they have been exploited by middlemen from Tanzania for years for lack of market opportunities. 

Share this story
Kin in funeral plans for family that died on Christmas Day
Funeral plans for five members of one family who died in a grisly road accident on their way from Mombasa to Kisii on Christmas Day are ongoing
Police holding five suspects in killing of Nyeri businessman
Police have arrested three people in connection with the brutal murder of Nyeri businessman Erasmus Kinyua.