Boost output, we have huge market for paddy rice, processor tells farmers
A food and beverages processor is asking paddy rice farmers to increase their production as it needs additional 10,000 metric tonnes (MT) of the produce annually.
Capwell Industries Limited, the processors of Pearl Pishori and CIL Pishori Rice brands, says this is part of its buy Kenya, build Kenya initiative.
The firm said it is currently utilising half of its production capacity due to low supply of rice. “We fully appreciate the need to support and protect domestic rice farmers. We have purchase agreements which guarantee them a secured market, prompt payments and technical support to help the farmers improve their yields,” said chief executive Rajan Shah.
He said the firm’s annual rice production capacity is 20,000 metric tonnes and it plans to scale up the sourcing of the remaining 10,000 metric tonnes from Mwea Rice Growers Society’s 3,000 members and other paddy rice farmers across the country.
As eating habits change, the annual consumption of rice is increasing at a rate of over 12 per cent in the country. This is estimated to hit 500,000 metric tonnes (MT) compared to an annual production of 100,000MT.
To boost production in the giant Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Shah called for acceleration of Thiba Dam.
Further, he noted, the government and other stakeholders in the rice production value chain should protect the integrity of the Kenyan Pishori brand from unscrupulous traders who are mixing it with other imported varieties and branding it as 100 per cent pure rice.
“The government should find a way to intellectually protect the pishori rice just like how India and Pakistan protect the basmati variety,” said Shah. Shah also urged the government and other stakeholders to set up a properly funded rice research institute to develop other varieties which can easily be grown in other locations across the country such as Ahero and West Kano.
Capwell Industries is one of the country’s leading producers and packers of branded rice, with the company producing several rice varieties and brands to cater for different consumer segments.
200 women, youth businesses to benefit from Sh5.1bn project
Up to 200 women and Youth enterprises are set to benefit from European Union-funded Sh5.1 billion AgriBiz programme.
Another Sh17.1 billion in loans will be leveraged from local financial institutions to support the enterprises.
The programme, which was launched in May through the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC) expects to create 17,000 jobs in the agricultural sector across the country, particularly for youth and women thus increase smallholder production, improve food security and boost household incomes.
It targets to achieve this through funding of up to 2,400 women and youth-led agribusinesses and reaching over 1.2 million smallholder beneficiaries over the coming five years.
The 200 enterprises were selected by KCIC from among 2,400 applications received after a highly competitive evaluation process.
The participants will benefit from training, business advisory and financing to promote sustainable use of natural resources and encourage appropriate agribusiness practices.
The agribusinesses selected were those that demonstrated the best scalability and potential for replication and growth of their products or services and thus the biggest potential to increase incomes for value-chain stakeholders.
EU ambassador, Simon Mordue, indicated that the huge interest in AgriBiz is an indicator that women and youth are embracing agribusiness activities.
“EU with KCIC are providing the business support needed. By bringing young people and women into the sector and creating over 17 000 jobs across Kenya, we are helping to boost the sustainability of the country’s agricultural sector and move it up the value-chain,” said Mordue.
KCIC chief executive Edward Mungai expressed their appreciation of the overwhelming response to the call from across the country – an indication that there are many agribusinesses seeking support to spur their growth.
The programme is expected to support over 1,600 enterprises to develop bankable business plans, 1,200 enterprises to access financing from financial institutions and over 1,500 women to access EU supported community level micro financial services.
Farmers welcome plan to buy milk based on quality, not quantity
Dairy farmers have welcomed a plan by processors to start buying milk based on quality, noting it will go a long way in boosting production.
The farmers, through the Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation (KDFF), further lauded state-owned New KCC which last week announced that they will start paying farmers based on quality of milk delivered.
“This move will really motivate farmers to produce more milk based on quality. This will make our products competitive,” said Gideon Birgen, KDFF’s chief executive officer.
New KCC managing director Nixon Sigey, said that the firm was seeking to motivate farmers to produce more quality milk that will be competitive, locally and internationally.
“The pilot progamme will begin in Nyahururu before being rolled out in other factories across the country. We plan to acquire more machines to enable us to test various parameters such as butter fat content,” said Sigey.
The milk firm has acquired state-of-art equipment through a modernisation programme by the national government to increase its capacity and efficiency.
Eldoret, Sotik and Dandora plants were modernised and commissioned. “Nyahururu factory is completed and ready for commissioning while Kiganjo is currently undergoing upgrade. This will go a long in stabilising prices by absorbing excess milk,” said the MD.
They also urged the government to come up with a revolving fund akin to the cherry fund to cushion them from high cost of animal feeds. “We also want to welcome plans by government to lease farms to grow fodder to assist farmers get feeds at affordable prices during the dry seasons.”
The cost of feeds account for over 60 per cent cost for production with majority of farmers’ relying on rain-fed agriculture.
Long dry spells have resulted in a drop in milk production with most farmers recording an average of eight to 10 litres per cow due to lack of adequate pasture and water.
Early this week, Agriculture CS Peter Munya revealed plans to lease government idle farms across the country to farmers on condition that they grow fodder and sell it at regulated prices.
–Stanley Kimuge and Wycliff Kipsang
State to settle livestock farmers’ pending bills
The government has approved Sh256 million to pay pending bills to livestock farmers and another Sh150 million to pay suppliers to the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), said Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
During a recent tour of vaccination centres in Kajiado, the KMC and the upcoming livestock agro-processing park, Munya promised to scale up ongoing reforms in the agriculture sector by revitalising the livestock value chain.
“The government is committed to reviving and modernising all vital agriculture value chains through targeted interventions that include budgetary allocations, supportive fiscal regimes and institutional reforms,” the CS said.
He added that the government will intensify vaccination efforts to control diseases that threaten animals in order to boost livestock exports.
It is estimated that Kenya has about 18.2 million cattle, 16.3 million sheep and 24.6 million goats.