- Makau, who is also the Chairman of the Huruma Rice Growers group in Kitobo, said farmers are forced to cross into neighbouring Tanzania to procure fertilizer and certified seeds.
- The farmers sell their produce in Ahero, Kisumu and Tanzania.
Taveta rice farmers decry poor prices
BY SOLOMON MUINGI @mfalmesoloo
Rice farmers in Taveta sub-county want the County Government to provide them with the inputs and promote mechanisation to boost production .
The farmers, from Timbila, Kimorigo and Kitobo, said their milling machine can currently process only three tonnes per day leading to low production.
"The machine we have mixes broken and whole grain rice. We need a machine with a higher capacity. We also require the fertiliser depot at Timbila to be stocked with urea fertilizer for top dressing,” Moses Makau, a rice farmer said.
Makau, who chairs the Huruma Rice Growers group in Kitobo, said farmers are forced to but fertiliser and certified seeds from Tanzania.
The farmers sell their produce in Ahero, Kisumu and Tanzania.
"Due to lack of a machine for value addition, we are exploited and forced to sell at a reduced price, which is a loss. Most farmers therefore declined to grow rice terming it as an unprofitable venture," said Isaac Muteta, a rice grower in Kimorigo.
Over 600 acres are currently under rice production in Kimorigo and Kitobo in Taveta sub-county, harvesting four tons per acre.
The farmers grow Japan and Saro series rice varieties.
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation executive Davis Mwangoma said the county government will stock subsidised urea based fertiliser at Timbila depot.
Mwangoma said the county has partnered with Taita Taveta University to carry out performance trials of best suited rice variety in the county.
“The varieties include upland rice which is rain fed and paddy rice which relies on irrigation,” he said.
He encouraged farmers to form cooperatives to increase their bargaining power.
“We can only fight brokers by having a strong cooperative society for all farmers. The department is ready to assist farmers reap good profits from farming,” Mwangoma added.