Kenya now gear up to import 4 million bags of maize setting the stage for fierce clash with local farmers

Maize grains. (CapitalFM)
  • The Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board has already issued an advisory to the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate the importation. 
  • SFR plans to import two million bags of white maize and an additional two million of yellow ones to be used for processing of animal feeds.
  • Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga confirmed they had received the letter from the board and that he would discuss the issue with his Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

Kenya is planning to import over two million bags of white maize before May, setting the stage for clashes between the government and farmers.

The Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board has already issued an advisory to the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate the importation. SFR chairman Noah Wekesa said the imported maize will curb a possible flour crisis amid projections that stocks will run out by April.

“We do not have any reserves at the moment and we would like the government to move with speed to allow imports and curb a possible crisis, that is why we have written to our parent ministry requesting it to allow imports,” said Dr Wekesa.

SFR plans to import two million bags of white maize and an additional two million of yellow ones to be used for processing of animal feeds. Agriculture ministry is expected to come up with a cabinet memo on the importation.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said they had received the letter from the board and that he would discuss the issue with his Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

“This requires a decision to be made by the Cabinet and I will have discussions with the CS over the issue,” said Prof Boga.

The PS noted that a food security committee that moved round the country assessing the stocks said it can only last up to the end of April.

The importation plan is likely to open another round of war between the government and farmers. Local farmers have repeatedly accused the government of sabotaging their livelihood by offering throw away prices for their grains and sometimes claiming the country was food secure only to import the same.

In 2017, the government was accused of stage-managing a crisis by ignoring all warning of an impending shortage only to flood the market with the staple when local farmers were harvesting, causing them great losses.

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