Rice farmers told to adopt new technologies to boost production
Farmers in rice growing regions of the country have been encouraged to shift to hybrid varieties and cut dependency of over recycled seeds in order to attain food sufficiency
According to the Alliance for Science Executive Director Dr Sheila Ochugboju, the hybrid varieties have proven to be early maturing, drought tolerant and disease resistant besides adoptable to various ecological zones.
Speaking at Nderwa section of the vast Mwea Irrigation scheme where hybrid pioneer farmers are located , the scientist assured the farmers as an Alliance they were committed to coming up with ideal varieties which were not only early maturing but high yielding for maximum profits .
Ochugboju further cautioned farmers not to listen to propaganda which certain politicians were churning out meant to persuade them (farmers), to reject GMOs yet this science was the answer to global food problem .
The scientist from Nigeria where these technologies are being used wondered how she could be used as a puppet of the West to mislead her own farmers.
Such new hybrids rice varieties are AH 18003,AH 18004,AH 18007 and PWAN Gold plus whose yields are three times above the traditional Mwea pishori whose aroma makes it the most preferred by consumers .
Jannet Wambui a case of successful rice farmers from the area who have since adopted the hybrid rice varieties .
The farmer who gave testimonies of success in attaining high yields at the shambas urged other farmers who were still doubting to visit them before they harvest the produce this week and see the difference .
The Alliance has partnered with the Integrated Community Organization for Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (ICOSEED) which works hand in hand with the farmers at the grassroots level for ease of adaptation of the technologies.
Of the rice cultivated in the country , Mwea produces about 75pc while the national consumption demand is 720,000 metric tons per year against less than 100,000 tones local production hence the scientific intervention by the Alliance , AATF and ICOSEED have embarked on to close up the wide gap.