Aiming to bolster the availability of hybrid rice seeds in Kenya, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and Agri All Africa have inked a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Under this agreement, both entities will focus on enhancing the capacity of stakeholders across the hybrid rice value chain, including seed companies, agro-dealers, and farmers.

Currently, Africa grapples with a substantial rice deficit amounting to 16.7 million metric tons, leading to hefty imports valued at over US$7 billion. This reliance on imports poses a significant drain on the continent’s foreign exchange reserves.

Hybrid rice varieties emerge as a crucial solution to address this gap in rice production.

Canisius Kanangire, the Executive Director of AATF, emphasized the shared commitment of both organizations to uplift resource-poor smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). He highlighted the potential for collaboration to empower farmers, enhance crop yields, and boost income levels.

ADVERTISEMENT Kanangire articulated the collaborative efforts, stating, “We will engage in rice value chain initiatives with the goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency in Kenya.”

In recent years, rice cultivation in Kenya has faced challenges, leading to a decline in production and disillusionment among farmers. Factors such as pest infestation, diseases, land overuse, reduced input application due to cost constraints, and erratic weather patterns have contributed to this decline.

Kayode Sani, the Rice project manager at AATF, outlined the introduction of several hybrid rice varieties, including PWAN gold, AH18007, and AH18004. These varieties have been distributed to farmers through private seed producers and national and international research institutes, with the aim of establishing a robust, demand-driven rice value chain in Africa.

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