Agency predicts 25pc fall in maize yield

Stacks of sacks with maize at National Cereals and Produce Board silos in Kisumu on November 13, 2018. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya estimates its main-season corn harvest from medium-potential growing areas will drop by about 25 per cent below the country’s five-year average.

Production in the Western and Rift Valley regions is projected at 2.3 million tonnes after the so-called long rains that fall between March and May, according to the East African nation’s drought-management agency.

“The delay in the onset of long rains, erratic rains and reduced acreage resulted in reduced crop production,” the National Drought Management Authority said in its latest report.

“There was poor germination across all the regions, which necessitated replanting.”

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The number of people needing food aid will peak at about 3.08 million by October, just before the onset of the short rains season in some growing areas, the agency said.

The estimate is based on the assumption that the rains will start on time and be sufficient, it said.

The number of food-insecure people has risen through the year to 2.6 million currently, from 1.1 million people identified in February, according to the report.

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“The long rains harvest will provide below-average household income and food mostly for consumption at household level, but insufficient for sale,” the agency said.

“Household food stocks across the majority of the areas will be depleted by the end of August, signalling increased dependence on markets for food.”

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