Farmers from Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties embrace uplands rice farming
In response to persistent food shortages caused by the impacts of climate change in the country and outside, the government is intensifying its efforts to ensure food security. One of the strategies being pursued is the promotion of upland rice farming, particularly in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties.
According to Mary Mutembei from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the program is mainly to control the importation of rice from outside the country, by coming up with new varieties of rice locally.
She added that rice is one of the major food crops after maize and the consumption of rice has been increasing over the years especially to many people living in urban areas, saying there is a need to ensure we produce a lot of rice to feed our people.
Furthermore, she added that trials are ongoing in all rice-producing irrigation schemes in the country to come up with a variety that is high yielding.
“The crop takes 90 days just like maize and there is no problem with soil health and there is no problem in the environment as it produces low greenhouse gas,” said Paul Kimurto, a researcher at Egerton University.
Many farmers in Meru County are increasingly engaging in upland rice cultivation due to its cost-effectiveness.
This type of rice requires minimal water consumption, making it suitable for areas with limited water resources. They say they are in the process of abandoning the farming of other crops to embrace rice farming due to its nature of growth and market.
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