Kenya expects to harvest of 43 million bags of maize

Maize being harvested at a farm in Kipkenyo village, Uasin Gishu County. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

Kenya expects to harvest 43 million bags of maize this year, Agriculture Principal Secretary Harsama Kello has said.

Kello noted that the government's decision to supply farmers with subsidized fertilizer has enabled the country to produce enough food to feed itself.

"We expect a bumper harvest, one that we have not seen in many years. By the end of next month, the prices of food commodities will tumble down significantly," he said.

Addressing stakeholders on the planned African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) and media engagement scheduled to take place in October in Nairobi, Kello said apart from maize, the country also expects a bumper harvest of wheat.

"We expect 1.3 million bags of wheat from next month from our farmers market, we have already set a price of Sh5,200," said the PS.

However, the PS said millers will be allowed to import two million bags of wheat to bridge the deficit.

He explained that under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Plan, two million poor farmers will be transformed into surplus producers through access to affordable inputs, intensive agricultural extension support and linkages to markets.

"We are pleased as a country and ministry to co-host the inaugural African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) that will bring the global, regional, and local community to Nairobi," said Kello.

He said the conference comes at an opportune time when Africa is struggling to feed its people and climate change is posing serious challenges to collective prosperity.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Harsama Kello. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

"The solution to this challenge lies largely on technology and innovation. As a Ministry, we share the vision of ACAT, of ensuring that our people do not go to bed hungry by ensuring that we adapt and scale up appropriate technologies geared towards enhancing sustainable food and nutrition security," he said.

The PS was optimistic that ACAT 2023 will serve as the premier platform for advancing African agriculture technology transfer and advocating for the uptake of innovations.

Kello said the African Union leadership has recognized the pillar of technology in the socio-economic development of the continent. In view of this, Africa's Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action on Science and Technology (CPA) was developed in 2005.

Kenya, taking cognisance of this developed a 10-year road map, the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS), 2019-2029.

Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Executive Director Canisius Kanangire said ACAT) will be held every two years to highlight concerns about farmers not accessing innovative technologies.

"The conference will bring together over 400 delegates drawn from government, academia, private sector, development circles, businesses, and farming communities among others," said Dr Kanangire.

The AATF boss noted that ACAT conferences will provide the platform needed by stakeholders who are keen on progressing the continent's socio-economic development, food and nutrition security through innovative agriculture technologies, as well as serve as a platform for generating information required to resolve the barriers to access, delivery and uptake of innovative technologies.

The conference will be held from October 30 to November 3 at Safari Park Hotel, under the theme: "Agricultural Resilience Through Innovation."

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