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By Eric Omwombo 

Governor James Orengo has fulfilled his pledge of delivering a Sh60 million Siriwo rice milling machine in Usonga that would cushion farmers from middlemen exploration.
The machine that will deal with paddy processing was imported from India and is expected to boost production.

For years, farmers have been facing exploitation by middlemen from neighbouring countries. Middlemen, especially from Uganda, mostly buy paddy even before it is ready.

The installation of the machine is underway and is expected to take three weeks.
“The shipping of the machine was delayed but it’s now being installed ” said Agriculture executive Silvester Kokoth.
Kokoth said once the machine is installed, we shall let it run as a CBO through a strategic partner.

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“We shall review their operations as government,” said Kokoth.
We had started mobilizing to expand coverage for production and it shall help crush paddy delivered by farmers from East Ugenya, Anyiko plateau.

Farmers engaged in doing rice farming under the lower Nzoia irrigation scheme and Budalangi would be served by the facility.

We aim to see to it that once operational, it does not lie idle and areas of land do not lie fallow anymore.

Rice farmers in Usonga, and Anyiko in Ujwanga, hope the machine with a crushing capacity of four tonnes per hour will create a ready market and boost their income.

Peter Odhiambo-48. a farmer at Siriwo Irrigation Scheme, said the installation of the mill will open more income opportunities for farmers.

This, he said, made rice from the company uncompetitive.

“The new machine will be more efficient and cost-effective. It shall increase rice uptake from farmers,” they said.

With the new machine, the agriculture chief officer said cases of inefficiency will be fully addressed, thereby increasing the rice crushing capacity.

“We will be able to take more rice from farmers and explore more markets as we will be capable of serving the market efficiently,” said Odhiambo.

The new machine has a sorting component and will automatically package rice.

“We aim to improve our crushing capacity to be self-reliant and create job opportunities for youths in the region,” said Governor James Orengo.

Orengo while launching the construction of the rice facility on April 13, 2023, noted that the rice we produce is sold before milling as paddy to the buyers.

Governor Orengo had said that his government was supporting Mulwa and Anyiko rice farmers by providing them with subsidised fertiliser and certified seeds.

“We were supporting payment for water services to the National Irrigation Authority (N.I.A). We are further constructing a rice store in Buhowa and a rice drying floor in Usonga,” he said.

“Siaya county government had just completed the construction of a Sh 19 million rice drying floor at Mulwa,” he said.

The drying floor, according to Orengo has greatly contributed to reducing the post-harvest losses previously incurred by farmers when drying the paddy during the wet season.

Orengo said the county government is keen to continue exploring new partnerships with other key players in the rice value chain to support farmers in production and marketing.
He said currently, the national Government, through funding from the World Bank is undertaking the construction of the lower River Nzoia Irrigation scheme.

“The scheme was complete and it’s increasing the land under irrigation by 4,000 hectares,” he said.

Among the key value chains under the project is rice and therefore it is expected that rice will remain the key value chain under the scheme.

 

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