Why cost of your ugali may go up: Munya

African woman preparing common ugali made from maize flour

Maize meal prices may go up if measures are not put in place to mitigate the looming shortage caused by drought.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the Ministry did an assessment an established that the shortage could be expected in a few months.

The shortage is linked to the drought experienced during the previous seasons and emerging markets in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We are projecting that if we are not careful, in the next coming months we might not have maize and the prices of maize meal will rise,” said Munya.

To arrest the situation, he said the Ministry is in the process of allowing the importation of maize to balance with what is available. Those who are in the milling business will be allowed to import.

Munya spoke on Friday during the launch of the Potato Taskforce, by Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). He warned those who are hoarding maize to release the produce or face dire consequences. 

“Only what is required will be imported and we will ensure the quality is good. We can import from anywhere as long as the conditions are met,” said Munya 

Emily Chebeya harvests Irish potatoes from her farm in Endebess Sub-County. She is among the farmers who are now focusing on alternative crops apart from the traditional maize crop. [Harold Odhiambo, Standard]

Munya said there is a shortage of maize in the whole East Africa region, this is why the Ministry is looking to explore other markets.

“A market emerged in South Sudan and traders in the region have taken full advantage to sell their maize there,” said Munya.

Meanwhile, good things are in store for potato farmers following the formation of a potato taskforce that will spearhead reforms in the sector.

Munya unveiled a 15-member that will be mandated to fast track processes in the value chain and safeguard farmers livelihoods amidst a complex trade environment.

“I believe this initiative will shape the potato production systems. This is therefore to ask this taskforce to have structured engagements with all stakeholders including government entities, and all sector players,” said Munya.

The task force, chaired by National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK) chief executive Mr Wachira Kaguongo comprises representatives of farmers, county government officials from potato-growing areas, research institutions and professionals in agribusiness.

The taskforce is expected to include and consider contemporary and comparative best practices across the world that will make the enterprise highly successful.

AFA Acting Director General Beatrice Nyamwamu said the taskforce will help in making decisions, even when it comes to subsidy programmes.

“With this, we will know where our potato farmers are, their numbers, size and production,” said Nyamwamu.

She noted that the taskforce has been drawn from various sectors, including players in the value chain and the counties.

Kaguongo said the taskforce has all the facets that is required in terms of professionalism, communication, finance and they promised to deliver and support in the endeavour to transform the potato value chain.

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Maize meal prices Ugali