Rice farmers in Budalang’i constituency have no market for their bumper harvest.
Hundreds of farmers are keeping the rice in their homes due to the unavailability of the market.
Those whose rice was due for harvesting are also in dilemma about where they will dry up their produce as their homes are still submerged in water.
Farmers who spoke to The Standard expressed fears of recording huge losses should they fail to sell their rice.
According to rice farmers from Magombe and Ruambwa-Mudembi, they invested a lot in growing of the rice with one acre costing them at least Sh30,000.
The biggest market for rice farmers in Budalang’i was Uganda, but with eruption of Coronavirus, buyers no longer cross the border to purchase the cereal.
Rice stores located at the National Irrigation Board’s office in Budalang’i are full of the cereal from the local farmers who are craving for the market.
The chairman of the Bunyala Rice Farmers Cooperative Society Robart Musolo said a kilo of rice is supposed to be sold at Sh45.
The society has at least 550 farmers. Besides Bunyala Rice Farmers Cooperative Society there is also Magombe Multipurpose Cooperative Society that has existed for nearly 50 years with more than 1,000 membership.
There are more than 2,000 acres under Bunyala Irrigation Scheme that is used for growing of rice. Varieties of rice grown include Pishori and Sindano.
“Unless the government intervenes and buys the rice, farmers are going to record huge loses,” said Musolo.
He continued, “Many farmers have bags of rice in their homes because the stores at the Irrigation Board are full, and some more farmers are planning to begin harvesting next month.”
Alex Okumu from Mundika is one of the farmers worried about where he will get market for his rice.
He is however optimistic that he will get buyers so that he can sell his produce to enable him plan for the new season early next year.
He is having at least 80 bags of rice at his home in Mundika. “This year many farmers have had bumper harvest despite numerous challenges we experienced particularly the floods, but there is no market as at now,” said Okumu.
The farmers depend on machines from outside the county to help them in harvesting at a cost.
Just like Okumu, John Osoga from Busagwa is yet to sell his produce. “I am yet to sell my rice and next month I should start harvesting another rice from my seven acre-farm,” he said.
Magret Obadia is another troubled rice farmer. She was forced to leave her home to take refuge in one of the local primary schools when floods wreaked havoc in the area.
After returning home two months ago Ms Obadia embarked on harvesting her rice. Lack of rice milling plant is an advantage to them as they are forced to sell the rice while in paddy form making them to lose the byproducts.