Moses Kuria, CS, Ministry of Investments, Trade and Industry, has revealed that farmers in Kenya’s bread basket are hoarding up to 20 million bags of maize.
Kuria was reacting to criticism by Kenyans over plans by the government to import maize duty-free after lifting the ban on importation of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO).
In a thread on twitter, the CS appealed to farmers across the country to release the reportedly hoarded maize to millers.
“It is estimated that farmers are sitting on 20 Million bags of Maize. Let them release it to the millers. You can call me if no miller is buying your maize,” said Kuria on Twitter.
Kuria revealed that farmers are set to harvest 35 million bags of maize in the next two weeks but warned that if they don’t sell it to the government it will be forced to import.
“The Government of Kenya will not buy maize directly or indirectly other than for Strategic Reserve. It is further expected that the farmers are about to harvest 35 Million bags in the next 2 weeks. Urgently deliver that to the Millers and so they will not need to import,” added Kuria.
He said a Gazette Notice would be issued on Monday to allow anyone to import maize insisting that the state will not subsidize consumption.
“The March-April-May rains are expected to fall short of expectations. We will keep monitoring what this means for Maize harvests. The Government will not subsidise consumption. It will continue subsidising and supporting production through fertilizers and other farms,” the CS added.
This comes as farmers in Kenya have been grappling with the high cost of farm inputs including fertilizer and seeds, drought, failing long rains and unfavorable market prices.
In the Kenya Kwanza manifesto launched weeks to the August election, President Ruto said his government would invest up to Sh250 billion in agriculture between 2023 and 2027.
He pledged affordable working capital to farmers, Guaranteed Minimum Returns, elevate poor Kenyans to produce food, enhance crop, milk and tea production, and reduce Kenya’s dependency on imports.