Investments, Trade, and Industry CS Moses Kuria says farmers are hoarding about 20 million bags of maize.
This comes amid reactions by Kenyans over his recent remarks on lifting the ban on GMO importation. This morning, CS Kuria took to his official Twitter page to urge the farmers to release the maize to millers.
“It is estimated that farmers are sitting on 20 Million bags of Maize. Let them release it to the millers. You can call me if no miller is buying your maize,” Kuria’s Twitter thread reads in part.
He adds that farmers are expected to harvest 35 million bags of maize in the next two weeks.
According to Kuria, if the farmers sell their maize to the millers on time, the government will not have to import maize.
“The Government of Kenya will not buy maize directly or indirectly other than for [the] Strategic Reserve. It is further expected that the farmers are about to harvest 35 Million bags in the next 2 weeks. Urgently deliver that to the Millers and so they will not need to import,” he adds.
He has also disclosed that a Gazette Notice will be issued in the course of today, allowing anyone to import maize.
CS Kuria also reiterates that the state will not import any maize inputs but instead, will be monitoring the March-May rains to gauge the crop yield.
“The March-April-May rains are expected to fall short of expectations. We will keep monitoring what this means for Maize harvests. The Government will not subsidise consumption. It will continue subsidising and supporting production through fertilizers and other farms,” he adds.
For a while now, maize farming across the country has not been a walk in the park.
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Famers are faced with the high costs of fertilizer and other inputs, drought, unpredictable weather patterns as well as poor prices at the market.
While launching his manifesto ahead of the August polls, President Ruto identified agriculture, micro small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), housing and settlement, healthcare, a digital superhighway, a creative economy, environment, and climate change and service economy, as his priority areas.
“Expectation from Kenyans is huge, and we do not have the luxury of time to waste. We need to deliver on our commitment. We shall roll our sleeves, tighten our belts and pull up our socks and deliver services to Kenyans,” Ruto said.
Kenya Kwanza had planned to invest about Sh250 billion in agriculture between 2023 and 2027.
The coalition said that was to provide adequate affordable working capital to farmers, risk management systems through Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) insurance, uplift poor population to produce food, raise crop productivity per acreage and milk volumes per cow, reduce dependency on imports and boost tea sector among others.
The high cost of inputs has had a negative impact on production, many farmers say their yields are significantly affected.