By Checky Abuje
Busia County has been picked by the National Government to construct a Rice Research Institute that is aimed at developing new breeds for lowland rice ecologies and their major market segments, including good grain quality and tolerance to major biotic and abiotic stresses.
Jane Ndung’u, Head of Rice Promotion Programme in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation State Department for Crops made the revelations on Tuesday.
She said Busia is the only county in Kenya to benefit from the funding from Venezuela Government together with Madagascar Island.
She said while Madagascar has already completed its project, Busia project to the tune of Sh400million has undergone design stage with the Ministry of Public Works working on designs before it’s handed over to a contractor.
Speaking after a meeting with officials from the Department of Agriculture led by County Executive Committee Member Dr Moses Osia, the official said the money for the project is with the National Treasury awaiting release.
Ms Ndung’u said their two-day visit to the border county is meant to assess various rice groups in the county that will benefit from mechanized rice equipment including millers and weeding push.
“Rice is now a strategic food item that the National Government has taken as one of its Big Four Agenda. We want Busia County to add value to rice production and uptake their rice in marketing,” she said.
Dr Osia thanked the National Government for picking Busia County for the project saying it will help create job opportunities and help identify the best variety of rice in rice-growing regions of the county.
He said Bunyala will host the Rice Research Institute after the residents identified land that is enough to house the project.
Ms Ndung’u was accompanied by Eng. Fredrick Muga and Godwin Kuria; those from the county included Chief Officers in the department Ruth Mukhongo, Eng. Richard Achiambo and County Director Agriculture Samson Khachina.