Press Releases and Articles



Peter Mburu, a farmer at Bura Irrigation and Settlement Scheme in Tana River County, dropped Pishori rice for the new Komboka (80064) variety in his three-acre farm. He explains: “The Pishori we produced at Bura did not have much demand because it breaks a lot during processing.” During processing, Komboka remains intact, he says, adding that the percentage that breaks is less than that of Pishori.

Komboka rice, developed through a collaboration of Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and National Irrigation Authority (NIA) was launched in late 2020 promising about seven tonnes per hectare (28 bags/acre). Dr. Raphael Wanjogu, Chief Officer, Research and Development at NIA and Endless Africa Rice Programme introduced it to Bura Irrigation Scheme. From 1.5 acres, Peter gets up to 35 bags of about 100kg each. “The cost of growing this variety from scratch is roughly KSh140,000 for my three acres”, he added. The crop has a ratoon that yields at least 50 per cent of the initial production with very minimal crop management.

The Authority provides irrigation water to their rice farms at a one-off fee of KSh 5,000 per 1.5 acres in a season of six months. Additionally, it gives technical and production support by offering training on the best farming practices for the Komboka rice variety.

Most of the farmers practise mechanised rice harvesting, which the growers say is cost-effective. “We pay a fee of KSh8,000 per 1.5 acres for a combine harvester, which is a drop from the initial manual labour costing KSh15, 000. I am contributing to the growth of the economy by creating employment to the youth during land preparation, weeding and packaging of the paddy rice. The market for Komboka is already established; National Cereals and Produce Board buys the paddy at KSh40 per kilogramme and we get paid within 24 hours after sale,” said Mr Mburu.

Mr Mburu says the NIA has intervened in a number of challenges farmers face at the scheme, including acquiring certified seeds and land levelling. Manual levelling takes time, especially for those holding large tracts of land.
The Bura Irrigation Scheme manager, Mr Peter Orua, says the scheme has put 1,400 acres under rice production, which are at different growth stages in the current cropping season. Other crops under irrigation at the scheme include green grams, commercial maize, watermelon, bulb onions, sunflower and Bt Cotton.

The irrigation potential of this Scheme is 25,000 acres; currently 12,000 acres are developed while 9,000 acres are actively in use. “The Scheme contributes to the economy of Bura and Tana River County directly and indirectly. In the 2016/2017 Financial Year (FY), farmers earned about KSh60 million, KSh15 million in the 2017/18 FY, KSh28 million in the 2018/2019 FY and KSh39 million in the 2019/20FY seasons, from contracted farming of seed maize by Kenya Seed Company Limited”.

He added: “Averagely, farmers additionally earn about KSh200 million annually from horticultural crops’ production, that is watermelon, tomatoes and bulb onions and KSh150 million from rice, commercial maize, pulses and cotton production.”