Maize shortage to end in one month, expect surplus — Bett

Agriculture CS Willy Bett yesterday assured Kenyans that the maize shortage in the local market will be a thing of the past by the end of August.
Bett said there will be a surplus of maize following imports from the East African Community — mainly Tanzania and Uganda.
“We’ve consistently imported maize from global market segments to contain the acute shortage of the commodity, following the effects of prolonged drought. Equally, farmers from some regions — mainly the South Rift and Western — have started harvesting,” he said.
“More maize has also started coming in from neighbours Tanzania and Uganda. In the next one month, the local market will have enough maize to feed the population.”
According to the April food situation report, the government had projected a deficit of five million bags by mid-this month, when the first harvest from Western and South Rift was expected.
This deficit, Bett said, is what is being contained by the imports since early May when the government started the Sh6billion-subsidy programme.
The government has imported 5.6 million bags to boost maize flour supply.
“There is a lot of flour on the shelves and we are past food shortage for now,” Bett said during the opening of the first National Youth Conference on Agribusiness in Karen, Nairobi
Bett added that millers have been reached to fast-track maize flour production.
In the recent past, the government brought on board posho mill owners in the production and supply of the Sh90 flour to ensure all Kenyans benefit.
“So far, 10 out of 40 posho mills in Nairobi have received the imported maize. This has boosted supply mainly to people living in the informal settlements and prevented them from the congestion being occasioned in the large supermarkets,” the CS said.
The posho millers get maize from the national granaries based on their milling capacity — between five to 10 bags a day.
Kenya has been facing an unga crisis for the past two months.
This prompted the government to start a subsidy programme to provide Kenyans with affordable flour.
Though temporary, the move came as relief for many Kenyans, who have been worst-hit by the soaring cost of living and skyrocketing prices of basic commodities.commodities.

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