THE STAR: New rice variety to boost Mwea farmers’ harvest, income

Rice farmers in Mwea, Kirinyaga county, hope to increase their yield after a new variety was introduced in the area.Crop scientists say the new variety has the ability to yield 24 more bags per acre of paddy compared to other varieties grown in the area.

Hybrid East Africa Ltd chief executive officer John Man said on Wednesday the variety has gone through the necessary trials and has been piloted in the Ahero irrigation scheme in Kisumu county.

Man said with the new variety and the completion of the Mega Thiba dam, the production of rice is expected to increase three-fold.

The CEO said due to the high production farmers will equally increase their profits from the sale of their produce. He said the seed is expensive and urged farmers to secure soft loans to access the certified seeds, which he guaranteed would give them a bumper harvest.

Man said the seeds are retailing at Sh6,000 for a 2kg pack.

He was speaking to a group of farmers during a field day at Kianjogu section in Kanyeki-ini ward, Kirinyaga Central.

“Besides the high yielding factor, the seeds mature within two months and have quality uniform grains,” he said.

Man, who has been in the seed business for 16 years, told farmers that the seed is not recyclable.

“Once a farmer harvests the crop, the produce is only fit for consumption,” he said.

African Agriculture Technology Foundation rice project manager Kayode Sanni urged Kenyan farmers to adopt new seed varieties to reduce food insecurity and improve their income.

This article was written by WANGECHI WANG’ONDU for  THE STAR, KENYA

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