Kilimo Trust embarks on project to increase adoption of sustainable rice production process
Over the last few years,Kenya has benefited from a rapid intensification of rice production ensuing high yields and economic gains.However, this has led to environmental degradation and adverse health effects.
This is why Kilimo Trust, a not-for-profit organization working on agriculture for development across the East Africa community in partnership with public and private sector partners have embarked on an ambitious and innovative project dubbed Reduce-Re-use-Recycle Rice Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture (R4iCSA )
“R4iCSA is a two years pilot project (2020-2022)funded by IKEA foundation and is concentrating on introducing regenerative agriculture in rice-based farming systems through sustainable rice cultivation, inter/rotational cropping with leguminous species and management of crop waste streams,”says Anthony Mugambi, Kilimo Trust Country Team Leader Kenya.
The project targets 5,000 smallholder farmers comprising 3,000 in Eastern Uganda and 2,000 in Kenya (1,000 in Kisumu County and another 1,000 farmers in Busia County)and other value-chain actors.The expected results are to at least increase rice yields by 10 per cent as a result of adoption of sustainable rice practices,to ensure that at least 50 per cent of target rice farmers are using sustainable rice practices (SRPs) and other technologies,to improve soil health status in the rice fields and to see at least four rice millers develop business plans to implement business cases on rice by-products.
Other expected results are: production of feasibility analyses for investment in different rice products produced,development and publication of business cases and plans for investment in utilization of rice by-products ,diversification of income sources from rice products and by-products especially for women and youth,and development of rice by-products prototypes and pre-tested for commercial viability by at least two technical institutions.
“The project also aims at promoting the use of innovative technologies and management practices for sustainable rice farming systems as well as to
generate empirical evidence of the developed and tested business models in the utilization of products and by-products of rice farming systems to drive scaling up the models.It also aims at increasing adoption of sustainable rice production practices for smallholder rice farmers in the two countries.
According to him , the main reason as to why they have launched this project is because rice remains to be one of the most intensely produced crops and with that, it is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases emissions and climate change, owing to the large volumes of fertilizers and the large volumes of water that rice requires.
“This is why we will be partnering with rice farmers to scale up smart solutions that will help minimize the impact of rice production, on the environment ,” he said.
He revealed that the outcomes of the project are expected to be increased adoption of sustainable rice practices (SRPs),business cases on utilization of products and by-products from rice and other complementary farm enterprises,adaptability and economic benefits of rice-legumes (cow peas, chickpeas and short duration pigeon peas) rotational system documented,and evidence based knowledge products on circular and regenerative models to influence policy shift.