•Bunyala produces more than 10,000 metric tonnes of rice per year.
•Ranked second after Mwea Rice Irrigation scheme
Bunyala Rice Irrigation scheme in Busia has been ranked second nationally due to improved production.
The scheme produces more than 10,000 metric tonnes of rice per year up from 5,500 tonnes, making it second to Mwea Rice Irrigation scheme.
Introduction of two seasons has almost doubled the output.
Addressing rice farmers at Magombe in Bunyala Central ward on Saturday, National Irrigation Board director Beatrice Mbingi said teamwork between rice farmers and the scheme management has improved yields.
Bunyala scheme is in Budalangi constituency, Busia county.
“This rice irrigation scheme has the potential to become the food basket of the entire western region, so I want to encourage rice farmers from Bunyala to double their effort,” she said.
Magombe Rice Cooperative Society chairman Christopher Gunyi said farmers are now able to build better houses and pay school fees for their children.
Mbingi appealed to local leaders not to politicise rice farming and instead work closely with the farmers as well as the scheme management to improve the economic status of the residents.
She said the national government through the National Irrigation Board will continue to support rice farming to ensure food security.
Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi who attended the event discouraged farmers from selling unprocessed rice, saying they can make a lot of money from rice husks.
Husks are used to produce poultry feed, fish feed and fuel for domestic use.
He said the county government of Busia will rehabilitate roads, culverts and the drainage system at the rice scheme for easy transportation and free flow of water in the canals.
Mulomi urged rice farmers to join Magombe Co-operative Society in large numbers.
Budalang'i MP Raphael Wanjala underscored the need to buy dredgers to help with the de-silting of local rivers such as Sidokho, Bulwani and Obaro among others which he said are blocked and are causing flooding.
He assured the residents whose lands had been affected by the Lower Nzoia Irrigation project that construction will start after they have been compensated.
Bunyala Irrigation Scheme manager Edwin Manyonge said his intention was to ensure every land has a crop.
He urged the rice farmers not to lease their land but instead use it to produce their own rice and earn good money for self-sustenance.
Manyonge said rice farmers from Budalang'i have been forced to sell their rice at low prices in Uganda because the National Cereals and Produce Board has refused to buy it.
He added that there was need to give priority to rice grown by local farmers so as to encourage them to double their effort and attract investors.