Costly farm inputs weighs down rice production in Kenya

“An increase in consumption per capita has forced the Country to import the deficit of at least 600,000 metric tons. Currently, consumption stands at 20.6 kilogram per person annually, placing  rice among the top cereal grains the government is targeting to ensure attainment of food security,” says Jane Ndungu Head of Rice Promotion Programme  at the Agriculture ministry .

According to Ndung’u, the goal is to increase output to at least 400,000 metric tons within the next three years to meet demand for the ever rising rice consumption rice is currently the second most consumed grain after maize.

She says the country currently produces 128, 000 metric tons against the required 900,000 metric tons forcing the country to import the deficit. However, production in the country is hampered by poor farming practices especially among small scale farmers coupled with reluctance to adopt appropriate technologies.

Among techniques being explored to increase production is water retention technology.  The country has 23 counties engaged in rice farming.

She was speaking during the training of farmers by Yara Fertilizer East Africa on the importance of soil testing. The firm has so far trained 5000 farmers across the country.

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