•Had planned to harvest biannually
•NIB vows to help them back to their feet
Over 400 rice farmers in Kisumu have received Sh 11.2 million as compensation for losses incurred when their crops were destroyed by hailstorm two months ago.
The county government gave them the money last week through the National Irrigations Board.
Agriculture Executive Gilchrist Okuom told the farmers that the amount had been disbursed from the emergency fund.
Okuom told them to use the funds prudently to purchase seeds, weeding amongst other activities.
“You must ensure that every coin spent is accounted for and the records must be clear,” he said.
The farmers in February experienced a setback after the heavy downpour which would have been a relief to them due to the heat wave.
The Western Kenya NIB senior scheme manager Joel Tanui confirmed that the damage was done in blocks A, F and L that destroyed at least 20,000 bags of rice covering 681 acres.
The rice was due for harvest.
The 365-acre Block A was the hardest hit, losing Sh35.8 million while in Block F, the storm destroyed 157 acres worth Sh13.2 million. Block G and L had 103 and 56 acres with grain worth Sh8.4 million and Sh4.6 million respectively.
Tanui noted that they will ensure the farmers are back on their feet and production is increased.
Destruction following the two-night heavy downpour came as a challenge to the farmers who had plans to produce rice biannually.
The double harvesting seasons were scheduled for between April to June and December through next January.
Initially, rice farmers’ in Ahero, West Kano and Bunyala used to plant rice between June and October.
Earlier, NIB had said they would provide certified seeds, tractors to the tilt the land, water for irrigation and fertiliser to achieve the double harvesting season.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)