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Food-insecure Garissa holds potential to be leading rice producer

Ranked among the most food-insecure counties in Kenya, rice production has the potential to transform Garissa County into a food basket.

The northeastern county has suitable agro-climatic conditions for rice production, including fertile alluvial soils, and access to River Tana waters throughout the year. The region also has an available labour force and an unparalleled market because rice is the preferred staple food of the Garissa community.

Through the Jarajara smallholder irrigation scheme, the only rice farm in northern Kenya, the county currently produces 68 tonnes of rice annually.

Started as a minor irrigation scheme in 1976, the project picked up steam 11 years ago with the help of NYS and is now made up of 50 pastoralists who abandoned livestock keeping for rice farming.

The scheme produces grade 1 Pishori rice that is sold within Garissa. Given that rice is the region’s staple food and is consumed by 80 per cent of locals, farmers have no issue accessing ready markets for their produce.

Jajara irrigation scheme draws water from nearby River Tana. If well-actualised water extracted from the river through canals and suction pumps can irrigate up to 32,000 ha.

Garissa County has a total of 894,000 ha of arable land. This represents about three per cent of the national arable land.

Photo Courtesy

Read more:

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New rainfed rice could unlock thousands of acres, save Kenya billions in imports

Could Western Kenya become country’s new rice bowl?

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