Governor Waiguru Advocates for Rice Farmers’ Ownership of Mwea Rice Mills in Privatization Plan

Nairobi- Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has advocated for the local rice farmers to be given priority in purchasing the Mwea Rice Mills (MRM) when it is privatized. Since the farmers already own 45% of MRM, Waiguru believes it is logical for them to have the first option to buy the remaining 55% currently held by the national government. To facilitate this, the county government plans to assist the farmers in acquiring these shares, enabling them to manage and operate the mill as a profit-making venture. This move aims to provide economic independence for the farmers and empower them without feeling disenfranchised.

The Governor emphasized this during the Jamhuri Day celebrations at the Good Samaritan Secondary School grounds in Mutithi, Mwea. She criticized some local politicians for using the privatization issue as a campaign tool for the 2027 elections, rather than offering constructive advice to farmers. Waiguru urged farmers to join rice cooperatives to pool resources for purchasing the facility, which would benefit them by making the rice mills self-sustaining and profitable.

Additionally, to address the issue of the Golden Apple Snail affecting rice crops in the Mwea irrigation scheme, the county, in collaboration with the national government, is seeking an effective pesticide. The previous pilot program to control the snail was not entirely successful, prompting a renewed effort to find a solution.

Furthermore, Governor Waiguru announced support for Kirinyaga coffee farmers, particularly the Kirinyaga Slopes Coffee Brokerage Company Limited. The county government plans to allocate Kshs 50 million for constructing warehouses to aggregate coffee, enabling effective participation in the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE).

The Mwea Rice Mills (MRM) in Kenya has a rich history intertwined with the development of rice farming in the Mwea region:

  1. Early Beginnings: The history of Mwea Rice Mills is closely linked to the development of rice cultivation in the Mwea area. Rice farming in Mwea began around the 1950s, following the introduction of irrigation schemes by the colonial government. The Mwea-Tebere Irrigation Scheme, the largest in Kenya, played a crucial role in this development.
  2. Establishment of MRM: Mwea Rice Mills was established to process the paddy rice harvested in the Mwea region. Its foundation was aimed at providing a centralized location for rice processing, which was essential for improving the quality and marketability of the rice produced by local farmers.
  3. Growth and Expansion: Over the years, MRM grew alongside the expansion of rice farming in the area. The mill became an important facility for the local economy, providing services for paddy drying, milling, and packaging. It played a crucial role in stabilizing rice prices and ensuring a consistent market for farmers.
  4. Technological Advancements: Throughout its history, MRM has seen various technological upgrades to improve efficiency and output. These advancements included modern milling machinery and improved drying techniques, which enhanced the quality of the final rice product.
  5. Ownership and Management: Initially, MRM may have been under government or private ownership, or a combination of both. Over time, the ownership and management structure of the mill have evolved, reflecting changes in agricultural policies and market dynamics.
  6. Challenges and Resilience: Like many agricultural enterprises, MRM has faced its share of challenges, including fluctuating market demands, competition, and the need for continuous technological upgrades. Despite these challenges, the mill has remained a pivotal component of the rice farming sector in Mwea.
  7. Recent Developments: In recent times, discussions around privatizing MRM have gained prominence. This move is seen as a way to improve efficiency and profitability, with proposals for local rice farmers, who already own a significant percentage of the mill, to acquire the remaining shares.
  8. Community Impact: Throughout its existence, Mwea Rice Mills has not only been a commercial entity but also a significant part of the community in Mwea. It has provided employment opportunities and has been central to the economic development of the region.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *