The Kenyan maize farmers are looking forward for a bumper harvest of 46m bags this season. The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, revealed this adding that the harvest would be a welcome boost to the country’s efforts to attain food security.
He further added that the harvest will also help in the stabilization of food prices in the country as it is also an increase from last season’s figure of 40m bags. The CS attributed the growth to the heavy rains witnessed in the last one year.
According to Mr. Kiunjuri, the ministry campaigned for farmers to plant more maize. This is in addition to giving them subsidized fertilizers. One of the counties which benefited from this initiative is Trans Nzoia, which, according to the CS, recorded a 25 per cent increase in production.
In 2017, agriculture directly contributed 31.3% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), approximately US $26Bn. This is in addition to a further 27% indirectly through links with the manufacturing and service related sectors.
However, an estimated 10m people remain food insecure in the country. Malnutrition reportedly also affects a significant portion of the population in the country, particularly children.
Meanwhile, farmers in the Western, South Rift and Eastern regions have started harvesting. Peak harvesting in the North Rift will last from October to November. The Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) chairman Noah Wekesa last month said the country has a maize stock of 3.6m bags of 90 kilograms each.
Mr. Wekesa said that they are expecting about four million bags of maize at the SFR this season. They would wish to increase the capacity to eight million bags in future. This, he says, would however require increased funding and other resources to ensure that the oversight board is sufficiently enabled to serve farmers.