Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday ordered government agencies to purchase two million bags (90 kg per bag) of maize from farmers following a bumper harvest in 2018.
Kenyatta ordered the agriculture ministry and other agencies, in coordination with respective county governments, to immediately open buying centers and stores to receive maize from farmers across the country.
“Following various government interventions and the good weather experienced in 2018, we have had a bumper harvest to the tune of 46 million bags. In addition, there is about 2.5 million bags carried over from the 2017 harvest,” he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The statement came after the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF) announced in November last year that it intended to buy 2.5 million bags at 2,500 shillings (25 U.S. dollars) per bag from the 2018/19 harvest.
“The government will simultaneously release 1.7 million 90kg bags of maize at 1,600 shillings (16 dollars) and an additional 300,000 bags of animal feed at 1,400 shillings (14 dollars) per bag,” said Kenyatta.
According to the president, it is clear that currently there is sufficient maize in the market selling at between 17 dollars and 18 dollars per 90kg bag.
“I call upon the investigative agencies to expedite verification process to ensure maize farmers are paid as soon as possible,” Kenyatta said.
The president in recent months has called for urgent interventions to protect local maize farmers from market challenges including delayed payments.
The move came after local farmers have been raising concerns about the lack of an assured local market for their produce.
Kenyatta said his government remains committed to supporting farmers to increase agricultural productivity and directed the agriculture ministry to accelerate the implementation of interventions that have been agreed upon under the development blueprint dubbed the Big Four Agenda on food security. Enditem