NAIROBI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's agriculture ministry said on Monday it will collaborate with researchers and technologists in Africa to increase rice production and thus boost food security.
Hamadi Boga, principle secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation said Africa's solution to rice deficit relied on adopting innovative technology in rice production.
"The importance of hybrid rice seed in increasing productivity and improving farm incomes is critical in Kenya, it is notable that rice development in Asia has been achieved through the use of quality seed especially hybrids, replication of this technology in Africa is a welcome intervention," Boga said in Nairobi during the launch of the Alliance for Hybrid Rice in Africa.
He said the introduction of hybrid seeds will address rice productivity gap in Kenya and Africa at large.
"Our annual production is about 150,000 metric tons (MT) which is far much below the average demand of 570,000 MT, the deficit is met through imports which on average cost the country 13 billion shillings (130 million U.S dollars) annually," he added.
Boga said that the government targets to increase annual rice production to 406,486 MT by 2022, highlighting modern technologies in irrigation, mechanization, and adoption of high yielding seed varieties among the interventions to reduce the import bill.