The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has launched a new rice variety, Komboka, that promises farmers to double the yields of presently available cultivars. It is drought-resistant, needing less water to grow which makes it possible to be grown in untraditional rain-fed lowland regions.
The new rice variety developed in conjunction with the International Rice Research institute yields 6.5 to 7 tons per ha compared to regularly grown Basmati rice which stands at just 2.5 to 3 tons per hectare. A farmer can harvest up to 40 bags of 100kgs per acre compared to Basmati which will yields 20 to 25 bags —this will enable farmers to earn more per acre than they ever have
Komboko also has been engineered to have attributes that are preferred by consumers: it is semi-aromatic with long slender grains and has a soft cooking texture.
It also takes just four months (110-120 days) to mature compared to Basmati which grows in 140 days. The plant height upon maturity is 110-115cm, it is sturdy and does not lodge; plant stems weaken and cannot support rice grain weight causing them to fall over—a common occurrence as farmers push for maximum grain yield from their paddies. This leads to significant yield losses as well as increasing harvest costs and time.