In efforts to boost production and marketing, the Venezuelan government has funded the construction of a rice research institute in Budalang’i, Busia county. The Kshs. 400 million institute aims to develop new breeds for lowland rice ecologies and their major market segments, including good grain quality and tolerance to major biotic and abiotic stresses.
Rice is fast becoming a regular food in most Kenyan households. It is a strategic commodity and the fastest-growing food source in Africa.
According to a published post in the local dailies, Busia County will maximize its production through value addition and boost uptake of rice in the market. Also, it will create employment opportunities for the locals and identify the best rice varieties for specific regions in the county.
Previously, Busia farmers were forced to sell their produce at low prices for fear of incurring losses from poor storage and lack of proper mechanized facilities.
Busia will be the only county in Kenya to benefit from the funding from Venezuela Government together with Madagascar Island. Madagascar has already completed its project, while Kenya is still at the design stage. The Ministry of Public Works is expected to hand over the designs to the contractor once complete.
Currently, the consumption of rice is at 440,000 metric tons per year but Kenya is only producing 140,000 metric tons per year, meaning that the rest of the rice is imported to other countries like Pakistan and Thailand.