Kenya experiences huge production-consumption deficit in relation to rice. This is due to changing eating habits that has adopted more rice in the menu and rapidly rising population. Rice production has remained low being unable to meet consumption. Rice ecosystems in Kenya include irrigated, rainfed lowland and rainfed upland. Irrigated ecosystem has over the years been given more emphasis despite rainfed rice farming having double the potential over irrigation system. Ecologically rice grows well in abundant water supply, warm to high temperatures and in Clay sandy to loamy soils with slightly acidic to neutral pH. Rice varieties grown in Kenya are mainly traditional, introduced improved, hybrids and landraces. Rainfed rice farming faces constraint’s key among them being; drought and erratic rainfall, weeds, pest and diseases, cheap imports, land ownership and poor infrastructure. Mitigating against drought and erratic rainfall, improving farm inputs and equipment, increasing germplasm production and distribution, credit support and marketing to farmers, improving farmers skills through technological transfers and infrastructural development are prospects that if adopted could increase rainfed rice productivity. More attention towards improvement of rainfed rice farming could greatly contribute to bridging the production-consumption deficit that is bridged through imports. It is with this, that this review updates our understanding of rain fed rice farming in Kenya in terms of ecological conditions, ecological systems, varieties, constraints and prospects.
Part of the book: Integrative Advances in Rice Research