Kenya anticipates bumper harvest amid shortage fears


WP_20160127_13_06_06_ProThe Kenyan ministry of agriculture on Thursday said there was no shortage of maize and other key staples in the country as reported in local media.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Willy Bett said at a media briefing in Nairobi that contrary to media reports, the country had adequate stock of maize to feed the population until the next harvest season.

“The government’s attention has been drawn to recent press reports indicating there is maize shortage in the country. I wish to affirm we have enough maize to feed Kenyans in the next three months when the harvest is expected,”Bett said.

Earlier this week, local dailies reported that strategic grain reserves in Kenya were depleted severely hence threatening food security in the east African.

Likewise, the local newspapers reported that maize stored in national granaries was unfit for human consumption due to high levels of aflatoxin.

The cabinet secretary clarified that national granaries stocked adequate maize that had passed quality test.

“Let me reiterate that maize in the country’s strategic food reserves is of high quality and the government has put sound mechanisms in place to ensure maize released to millers is free from contamination,” said Bett.

Kenya had an estimated 9 million bags of maize in the national granaries by the end of May while farmers and traders held 4 and 2 million bags respectively.

Bett disclosed that millers are in possession of half a million bags of maize while discussion with key players had gone overdrive to cushion consumers from market volatility.

“It has been noted that prices of maize flour have gone up in the last two months. The government has convened stakeholders meeting to mitigate fluctuation of retail price for maize flour,”Bett said.

He added that key maize producing regions will experience a bumper harvest from mid July thanks to abundant rainfall and availability of cheaper fertilizers and seeds to farmers. – Xinhua


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