Comprehensive rice farming guide

This is the Comprehensive rice farming guide to enable you start and grow your green rice for domestic or commercial purposes. Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or less commonly Oryza glaberrima. The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera Zizania and Porteresia, both wild and domesticated, although the term may also be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza. Wikipedia Before venturing into rice farming in Kenya or anywhere there are a variety of questions you have asked yourselves, we intend to guide you on rice farming and answer all these questions here.

  • How long does it take for rice to grow and mature?
  • Which is the best fertilizer for rice?
  • How to grow rice in Kenya?
  • How profitable is rice farming in Kenya
  • How long does it take for rice seedlings to germinate?
  • Rice market in Kenya
  • Rice pest and diseases
  • How much Rice do you plant per acre


Depending on the availability of water, rice can be grown in many different ecological conditions. The plants can be grown in both irrigated and rainfed method, and they can also survive flooding. However, favorable rice growing environments are;

  • Coastal wetland
  • Deep water or floating rice
  • Lowland, irrigated
  • Lowland, rainfed
  • Upland rice

Rice is best grown in areas/regions where abundant water supply, prolonged sunshine and high humid condition is available. Temperature between 16 °C and 30 °C is considered best for rice farming.

Planting of rice Should be done at the onset of rains for rain-fed rice, direct seeding is done in this case. For irrigated rice, raise seedlings on nursery and transplant 3-4 weeks after sowing depending on the variety. Spacing for rain fed rice range between 23-35cm by drill (seed rate 50kg per hectare), for irrigated rice is 15cm-20cm by 20cm (seed rate 50-54kg per hectare).

For irrigated rice Use basal application method, 100kg DAP per hectare during planting, top dress 12-14 days after transplanting with 100kg CAN per hectare for black cotton soil, 100-180kg SA depending on soil conditions. For rain fed rice Use basal application method, 100kg DAP per hectare during planting and 90kg CAN per hectare during top-dressing. There are various varieties of rice grown in Kenya listed below;

Irrigated varieties: Sindano, Basmat 370, Basmat 217, BW 196, BG-90-2, BR 51-74-6 and IR 2793-80-1, ITA 310

Low land rainfed: Ci Cong Ai, WABIS-675, Jasmine-85, TGR-78

Rain-fed upland: NARIKA 1, NARIKA 4, NARIKA 10, NARIKA 11, TRG-94, Nam Roo, Deurado precoce, WAB 181-18

After planting your green grams regulars farm practices continues which include;



Weeding of rice is done by uprooting unwanted plants that grows with the rice to ensure that pest and diseases are prevented and also competition for nutrients with plants are reduced and discouraged. For rain fed rice carry out weeding three times, first weeding done 2-3 weeks after germination, second prior to topdressing and third one before panicle set


Cultivated rice is extremely sensitive to water shortages. Maintaining a flooded condition in the rice field is good for ensuring sufficient water during the growth period (do this especially for lowland rice farming). In rainfed rice farming conditions, you don’t have to think much about it and nature will do the rest. But in case of dry or semi-dry conditions, you have to water the field regularly. Remember, you must have to keep the rice field flooded for up to 2 weeks after transplanting.


  • White rice borer
  • Birds
  • Rice stem borer
  • Stalk eyed fly
  • Rice leaf hoppers


  • Blast
  • Sheath blight
  • Rice yellow mottle virus
  • Sheath rot


Depending on the variety of the rice, the rice plants reach maturity at around 105 to 150 days after crop establishment, harvesting the crop is done when the moisture content into the grain reduce to 20%-25%. Rice harvesting activities include cutting, stacking, handling, threshing, cleaning and hauling. Harvesting rice activities either by hand or by using a machine. You can expect rice yields of about 1500 to 2000 kg per acre.


High demand for rice has provided ready market for this kind of crop. Rice can be sold in;

  • Open air market
  • Hotels and schools
  • Groceries and supermarket
  • Consumers market
  • Processing factories


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