Maize imports from Zambia are set to arrive in Kenya soon. Agriculture CS Peter Munya hinted that the imports could start getting into the country in in 14 days.
“We are working with countries that have enough maize to be able to bring cheaper maize into the Kenyan market to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of maize flour. Zambia is one of them which has had a bumper harvest,” said Munya.
Munya spoke during the ground breaking ceremony of the hot water treatment facility at the Horticulture and Crops Directorate at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The CS said besides duty waiver on maize imports, the Government is putting other additional measures to see to it that the price of unga comes down.
“We are discussing logistics and a rein fencing of quantities that would satisfy our demand here. We already have people buying maize from these countries but there is no guarantee that we have enough quantities if one is doing it individually. So we are trying to negotiate with these countries to get a quarter allocation that will satisfy our market. The guarantee of the volumes we need will not be there if we do not have the interventions we are doing as Government to Government,” said Munya.
Munya confirmed that globally, maize prices are high due to low supplies, and if millers can be able to bring cheaper maize, this would have an impact on the price and help bring down the price of maize which is currently at between Sh6,500 to Sh7,000. He explained prices have been affected by drought and the disruptions that came with challenges of Covid-19 and the desert locusts, all those challenges we have been facing as a region.
“We have been having severe droughts in the region. For the last three seasons, Kenya has not been able to reach the annual harvest of between 35-40 million bags of maize that we do. But the Government has been monitoring the situation, to ensure that both the farmers and consumers are not hurting. We are balancing between ensuring the farmers earn reasonable money but also ensuring the consumer is not disadvantaged. It is a balancing act,” said the CS.