Kenya rice yield low, de­spite ris­ing de­mand, FAO records show

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries -

Kenya’s an­nual rice pro­duc­tion stands at 146,000 met­ric tonnes against de­mand for up to 500,000MT, lat­est FAO fig­ures show.

The coun­try heav­ily re­lies on im­ports, mainly from Asia, de­spite the high pro­duc­tion po­ten­tial it has. This emerged dur­ing the on­go­ing work­shop on sus­tain­able rice sys­tems de­vel­op­ment in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa at the Kenya Agri­cul­ture and Live­stock Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion in Naivasha. FAO’s Peter Anaad­umba yes­ter­day said al­though sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made, the over­re­liance on im­ports raises a se­ri­ous food se­cu­rity con­cern. “Rice is a sta­ple food, par­tic­u­larly in some Sub-Sa­ha­ran coun­tries, where ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tions de­pend on the pro­duce as a cor­ner­stone of their diet,” he said.

Anaad­umba said about 90 per cent of rice grown in Kenya is in ir­ri­ga­tion schemes es­tab­lished by the gov­ern­ment, while the re­main­ing 10 per cent is pro­duced un­der rain-fed con­di­tions. Anaad­umba said FAO is keen to sup­port farm­ers to im­prove pro­duc­tion to meet ris­ing de­mand.

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