20 May 2018

Kenya: Agriculture Ministry Projects 44% Rise in Maize Output

The Ministry of Agriculture is projecting a 44 per cent increase in maize production this year resulting from good weather and reduced impact of the fall armyworm.

The State says farmers will harvest 46 million bags of 90 kilogrammes from the current crop, an increase from last season where the country registered 32 million bags.

Cabinet Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur says the rise in production results from government initiative to ensure food security in the country.

"The increase in 2018 production is attributed to prevailing conducive weather conditions in high and medium rainfall areas in the country. This is also because of Big 4 agenda efforts towards attainment of 100 per cent food and nutrition security," he claimed.

The ministry says the increased supply of subsidised fertiliser and use of certified seed will play a big role in boosting production.

Dr Tuimur, however, says areas receiving heavy rains are likely to see suppressed harvest and crop damage by the fall army worms.

Last year's crop was affected by fall armyworm and erratic weather pattern, which significantly cut production from 37 million bags realised in 2017 to 32 million bags. About 80 per cent of farmers in the country's grain basket had planted by the time this year's season came to a close end of last month despite disruptions by heavy rains.

Director of Crops in the Ministry of Agriculture Johnson Irungu says the crop has so far attained the knee height and farmers are about to start top dressing.

The main effect of lower production was a sharp rise in price of flour, which jumped to Sh153 per two kilo packet, forcing the government to intervene through a subsidy programme that reversed the cost to Sh90 last year. ALSO READ: State rules out buying more maize as farmers fight glut

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