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In Taita Taveta, Kenya Introduces drought-tolerant rice varieties

the drought-tolerant rice varieties would be developed for the mass market in order to minimize the county's and country's reliance on imported crops
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Drought-tolerant rice varieties

Drought-tolerant rice cultivars have been introduced to farmers by the Taita Taveta County administration in Kenya, with the goal of increasing yields this year.

According to Dr Davis Mwangoma, the county Agriculture executive, the new type will quadruple rice production in the area from 4,600 to 12,000 tonnes per year. The new variety also fits the needs of both domestic and foreign markets in terms of food and nutrition. The main cash crop in Taita sub-county is rice.

During the First World War, white immigrants brought the crop to the area in order to feed British soldiers battling Germans from Tanzania. According to Mwangoma, the new variety would be developed for the mass market in order to minimize the county's and country's reliance on imported crops.

Rice-growing regions that aren't typical

Because it uses less water, the variety may be produced in non-traditional rice growing sites, making it suited for both irrigated and rain-fed lowland areas.

Mwangoma stated that they plan to treble rice production every year in order to improve the local community's nutrition, food security, and income.

For the sake of sustainability, the CEC stated that the county was collaborating with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and Taita-Taveta University (TTU).

Drought-tolerant rice varieties

He noted that the county administration is also conducting performance trials of the best-suited rice variety around the county in partnership with TTU. Rain-fed upland rice and irrigation-dependent paddy rice are among the kinds.

Local farmers currently grow Japan and Saro series rice varieties, according to Mwangoma, who added that the new variety comes as the county continues to face persistent food shortages.

Mwangoma further noted that they have worked with the national government to build a structure that will not only increase rice production in the area, but will also protect farmers from exploitation by middlemen who have been buying the grain at low prices and selling at exorbitant prices.

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