The First National Rice Stakeholders’ Conference in Kenya targets rice self-sufficiency by 2030 through plant breeding innovations and collaborations

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16 NOVEMBER 2023 (NAIROBI, Kenya) – The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) hosted its First National Rice Stakeholders’ Conference on 16th and 17th of November 2023 in Nairobi. The conference is aligned with the vision and mission of IRRI in Africa. It also addresses the objectives of several ongoing projects that IRRI is leading in Kenya such as the Accelerated Genetic Gain in Rice (AGGRi) Alliance, CGIAR’s Seed Equal initiative, CGIAR’s Market Intelligence and Scale Direct.

Rice is a staple food for millions of Kenyans but the country relies heavily on imports to meet the growing demand. To address this challenge, the Government of Kenya developed a National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS II) that aims to increase local rice production seven times by 2030 from 128,000 metric tons (MT) in 2019 to 846,000 MT by 2030. This is expected to reduce dependence on imports by 30 percent in 2027. However, the current situation of the rice sector in Kenya is far from the desired targets.

Over the past years, IRRI, in collaboration with KALRO and other scaling partners, has established and demonstrated sets of innovations and best practices in rice research and varietal improvement. This includes new high-yielding, climate-smart, market-demanded varieties and accompanying good production practices. These varieties include IR-05N221 (“Komboka”), 08FAN10 (“Mkombozi”), and CSR36.

To ensure that farmers have access to these varieties, KALRO and IRRI revolutionized the seed production program resulting in increased quantities of certified seeds. The scaling was made possible through the collaboration with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) – the national seed quality regulatory authority, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd. (MRGM) and other seed…

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