Govt to Import 4 Million Bags of Maize Despite Bumper Harvest


The government through the Ministry of Agriculture is floating a multimillion-dollar tender for interested entrepreneurs to import 4 million bags of maize. 

Speaking during an official ministry event on Wednesday, Crop Development Principal Secretary Paul Rono remarked that the importation would continue despite the country expecting a bumper harvest coinciding with rains being experienced in different parts of the country.

“In a year, we are talking close to 48 million bags (for consumption) but our production is 44 million meaning we will have a shortage of 4 million bags,” he explained. 

Rono justified the importation remarking that it would stabilise maize prices. 

A photo of a maize farm in Uyoma, Siaya County taken on March 4, 2023.

Photo

Washington Mito

To protect local farmers, Rono promised that ships carrying the maize would start docking at the Port of Mombasa only after the government bought all the harvested maize. 

He assured that farmers will be able to sell the maize through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). 

“We need to make sure that we stock our strategic food reserves with enough food for the dry and rainy season,” he assured local farmers. 

“This will ensure that the cost of Unga is maintained at reasonable prices.”

Already, the Ministry of Agriculture has announced that it has already bought 64,000 bags of maize from farmers against a target of 44 million bags. 

President William Ruto on the other hand remarked that his administration was looking at ending maize importation. 

Speaking in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County, a few hours after Rono’s statement, Ruto remarked that his government was providing affordable fertiliser to farmers in a bid to end reliance on maize imports.

This is in line with Ruto’s October 2023 promise that 2024 would be the last year that Kenya would import maize and other agricultural products. 

“From 2025, we won’t import even a single sack of maize. All the bags will be produced in Kenya,” he explained then. 

Maize flour stacked at a supermarket.

Photo

Kilimo News





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