Kisumu set to unveil rice mill in self-reliance push
Kisumu County has embarked on an ambitious plan to boost food security, and curb imports of rice into the region.
Rather than feed its residents on imported rice, the county wants to utilise its homegrown rice and sell it to other local markets under the plan that also targets overall growth of the agriculture industry.
Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o disclosed that as part of his ambitious project, the county has installed a new rice mill in Ahero that awaits commissioning to begin operations by early next year.
“We believe this project will enhance rice cultivation by 500 hectares and will compliment another rice mill being built by Lake Basin Development Authority,” he said.
In addition, Nyong’o said the county seeks to expand areas of rice irrigation and mapping more schemes such as Southwest Kano irrigation scheme to improve food and nutrition security in the region.
“Enhanced extension services to rice farmers have also led to improved productivity and household incomes,’’ he told the Business Hub at Tom Mboya Labour College.
Currently, rice is one of the staple foods in Kisumu, and the country consumes millions of tonnes a year.
That’s a lot of rice, and in order to keep up with demand, the county has imported huge amounts of the grain each year from as far as Mwea, Tanzania, Pakistan, and India among other rice producing countries. These are the brands that dominate shelves of local supermarkets.
Nyong’o stressed that agriculture is the backbone of the county’s economy and continues to play a critical role in ensuring that the region is food secure.
“Our government through partnerships has recorded remarkable achievements in boosting food production in the county,’’ he disclosed.
To improve the area under irrigation, increase agricultural productivity, and build resilience to climate change risks, through a partnership with the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP), Kisumu has trained and supported 255 farmer groups across three value chains of cassava, chicken, and sorghum in six wards in the County.
“In building resilience to climate change risks in the targeted smallholder farming areas, we put up 10 water pans and boreholes serving more than 500 households,” Nyong’o explained.
They are Kodikre Water Pan and auxiliary structures in Central Nyakach Ward, Nyakach Sub-County, Holo Orucho Water Pan and auxiliary structures in East Kano/Wawidhi Ward, Nyando Sub-County, Gem Rae Irrigation Scheme and Kaloo Borehole, both in Nyakach.
Others are Siany CC3 Irrigation Project in Kabonyo Kanyagwal, Awach Kano Irrigation Project in Nyando, Kaloka Borehole and Banda Works in East Seme, and Chiga Irrigation Project in Kolwa East, Kisumu East sub-County among others.
To help farmers make informed decisions on weather patterns and planting cycles, Nyong’o said the county government has so far registered 22,763 farmers its digitisation programme. “These farmers are receiving agro-weather information through their mobile phones to help them make informed decisions,” the governor added.
And in a bid to scale up existing interventions around productivity, Nyong’o said the government is working closely with the national government’s National Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) to increase market participation and value addition for targeted farmers in select value chains in project areas.