Rice planting in Mwea goes mechanization

An automated rice seedling transplanting machine beng loaded  with  the seedlings ready for display at the MIAD, Kandongu , Mwea Irrigation  scheme  this afternoon

Rice farmers at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, who have had to step into soggy muddy fields to plant the grain crop, have everything to smile about following the introduction of mechanized transplanting machines.

The machines from Japan and sold  in the country as KiliMol (cultivate Africa’s future, come into two models  , four wheel  driven and two wheel hand operated, according to the Project Supervisor Harun  Kimathi.

During a demonstration of the modern farming equipment at the MIAD, Kandongu, within the scheme this morning Kimathi said the machines were economical, efficient and time saving.

“This machine  takes only 45 minutes  to the most to transplant an acre of the rice fields whereas up to 16 people  are required to plant the same  area in about six or more  hours at a cost of Sh 500 per person ,”he said.

The modern  rice seedling transplanting machine being displayed on a rice field at the MIAD, Kandongu area within the Mwea Irrigation scheme by KiliMol company  this afternoon.

Added Kimathi” these machines are however not being introduced to deny locals the casual employment that  the planting seasons  brings  about  since there is still the manual preparation of the seeds in trays  where their labour is required ,”

The official however decried the overuse of heavy ploughing  tractors before  which had  dug so deep making the  modern transplanting machines to get stuck in some sections of the rice  fields  .

“Where the land is even transplanting can even take only 30 minutes using this mechanized  machine and you can imagine  the savings  the farmer accrues  as a result while  fuel consumption  is at the lowest, after sales  field services as well availability of spare parts,”Kimathi said.

The modern  rice seedling transplanting machine being displayed on a rice field at the MIAD, Kandongu area within the Mwea Irrigation scheme by KiliMol company  this afternoon.

And the Japan based company Chief Executive Officer Mikio Oyama said some  of the  spare parts the machines  had been fitted with could easily be manufactured  in  the country thereby creating more jobs  for the Youths.

“We are looking at this venture in its totality and  there should not  be  any reason  why we can’t open a spare part manufacturing plant right here in Kenya and which will be a source of employment to the local Youths even as the farmers benefits from  such cheap spares ,”Oyama told the media at the field day.

Oyama added that even mechanized weeding machines which are easy to handle and operate have been invented and introduced into the scheme to complete the mechanization process of the entire  rice value chain.

Harun Kimathi the Nairobi office Supervisor briefing the Media on the efficiency of the equipment after the Field day held at the MIAD , Kandongu, within the  Mwea Irrigation scheme this afternoon.

Kimathi said  farmers in the area were the first to receive the  mechanized rice  transplanting machines  in the  entire African continent since the area was the largest producer of the grain crop.

So far the company has successfully introduced cheap and   efficient tractors at the scheme while portable  but modern  rice mills are also available  at farmers friendly  prices, according to Kimathi.

A Mwea rice farmer Martin Mwaura  speaking to the media after atter attending the Field day organised by KiliMol on mechanized rice seed transplanting at the MIAD Kandongu section this afternoon where he hailed the company for its innovative  rice farming method which will improve efficiency at the scheme .

The company has Yuya  Inoue and Ryo Sakamoto from the Tokyo  office, Yataka Ikeda  (Dubai Office) Kimathi at the Nairobi office with  Oyama  also at the Tokyo office .

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