Farmers overjoyed as rice production set to increase by 12%

From October, rice production is expected to increase to 90,000 metric tons

BUNGOMA, KENYA - SEPTEMBER 13: Images of Dominion Farm, the largest private American investment in Kenya, September 13, 2007 in Bungoma, Kenya. (Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

2022 is expected to be a good year for rice farmers in Kenya as rice production is forecast to rise 12% to 90,000 metric tons in the next marketing year from October 2022 through September 2023.

According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, the increase is attributed to the completion of the Sh7.8 billion Thiba dam in Kirinyaga County that has the capacity to hold 15.6 million cubic metres of water.

The dam is 40 metres deep and 1 kilometre long and will provide a consistent supply of water to the farmers and boost their farming activities.

"Thiba dam expected to be commissioned later in 2022, will expand the Mwea irrigation scheme which currently accounts for 80% of Kenya's production," read the Kenya grain and feed report in part.

However, rice yields are expected to decrease slightly due to lower fertilizer application as prices surge.

"In 2022-2023 marketing year, imports will decline slightly by 10,000 tons to 640,000 tons as Kenya's production gains are expected to cover any expected consumption increases," the report concluded.

The report comes only hours after the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) came up with a formula that will ensure fair and equitable distribution of water at the Mwea irrigation scheme.

Mwea Irrigation Scheme manager Innocent Ariemba told the Standard Newspaper that farmers will only use water for three days; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“On the fourth day (Sunday), the water will be allowed to flow downstream while on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the water will be used by the people who are upstream,” he said.

"The rationing is meant to ensure the residents get to share the little water in various units in the scheme,” he concluded.

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