A farmers’ cooperative in Kenya receives a modern seed dressing machine to boost Kenya’s rice production
NAIROBI, Kenya (26 June 2023)- In a transformative move to increase rice seed production and scale of improved rice varieties in Kenya, the Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Cooperative Society (MRGM), the largest farmers’ cooperative in East and Southern Africa (ESA), has received a modern seed dressing machine from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), marking a major milestone in enhancing rice seed operations in the country. The official handover took place on 12 June 2023 at MRGM’s Seed Processing Unit, Mwea. and was attended by senior government officials from Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; and Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and the IRRI Africa scientists.
MRGM, boasting a membership of over 7,000 farmers, plays a pivotal role as a registered seed producer and merchant, ensuring the availability of improved rice varieties in Kenya while operating under a licensing agreement with KALRO. However, the cooperative has faced significant challenges in manual seed treatment limiting its operation and scale. Recognizing the pressing need to increase rice production, IRRI donated a modern seed dresser that has an impressive seed processing capacity of 3-5 tons of rice seed per hour, revolutionizing the efficiency of seed dressing operation. Previously, the laborious manual drum seed dressing operation required 24 hours and a team of nine (9) persons to process the same quantity of seeds.
The timely donation of a modern seed dresser by IRRI reflects IRRI’s commitment to address some of the pressing needs to minimize the rising rice imports in ESA, which have exerted a heavy burden on local economies. With rice self-sufficiency rates plummeting in a number of African countries, including Kenya, the availability of quality seed of the improved climate-smart varieties is vital to check and correct this trend. IRRI, at the forefront of developing…