POOR HARVEST

Poor harvest to increase demand for cross-border imports

Most of the maize imports in Kenya is coming from Tanzania, says PS

In Summary

• The total imports increased from 520,835 (90kg) bags in August to 542,796 bags (90kg) in October.

• Maize imports from January to October stands at 3,765,728 (90kg) bags compared to a total of 3,811,947 bags imported at the same period in 2020. 

Map on food security projection between November 2021, to January 2022.
Map on food security projection between November 2021, to January 2022.
Image: Famine Early Waning Systems Network

The anticipated poor short rains harvest is expected to keep supplies below average. This is according to the Kenya Food Security Outlook for October 2021 to May 2022.

The report showed that this will drive demand and increase dependence on cross-border imports from neighboring countries.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicated that Kenya accounted for 58 percent grain traded by East African countries between July and September, 2021.

During this period, Tanzania contributed the most in exports, accounting for 57 percent of total exports to Kenya, while Uganda exported 117,390 metric tonnes of maize (43 percent) to Kenya and South Sudan.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga confirmed that most of the maize is imported from neighboring countries of Tanzania. He spoke to the Star on phone.

The total imports increased from 520,835 (90kg) bags in August to 456,476 (90kg) bags in September to 542,796 bags (90kg) in October.

“The total maize imports from January to October stands at 3,765,728 (90kg) bags compared to a total of 3,811,947 bags imported at the same period in 2020. This included imports from outside the region of 1.679 million bags to meet deficits of the season in 2020,” he said.

Boga said the quantity of wheat grain imported in October increased to 2,494,155 (90 Kg) Bags compared to 2,210,435 bags (90kg) for September 2021.

The total quantity of wheat import from January to October was totaling to 19,847,706 (90kg bags) compared to a total of 16,074,604 (90 kg bags) for the same period in 2020.

The PS added that the quantity of beans imported in October also increased significantly to 87,664 bags compared to 14,919 bags (90Kg).

“The total quantity of beans imports from January to October 2021 stands at 951,593 (90kg) bags compared to a total of 410,158 bags for the same period in 2020. This year has witnessed more beans being imported as local production was affected both by poor short rains and long rains which affected main bean producing areas,” said Boga.

Rice import trends however showed a decrease in the quantity of rice imported in October which was at 475,431 (90Kg Bags) from 605,629 (90Kg Bags) in September.

“The cumulative quantity imported from January–October stands at 4,276,853 (90kg) bags compared to 2,887,351 (90kg bags) imported in the same period in 2020 where main effect was the decline in imports due to Covid-19,” he said.

According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) price projections, wholesale maize prices in Nairobi are expected to remain 7-30 percent above the five-year average.

“The price of a 90kg bag of maize will range from Sh3,200-Sh4,400, and this will be moderated by the 2021 long rains harvests from the high and medium rainfall areas and cross-border regional imports. Wholesale bean prices in the Nairobi reference market are expected to remain 28-37 percent above the five-year average and follow seasonal trends through the scenario period. Prices are expected to range from Sh9,300-Sh10,900,” the early warming report showed.

The reports further indicated that prices are expected to remain high due to low carryover stocks and a below-average 2021 long rains harvest.

“In the upcoming 2021 short rains, the anticipated poor harvest is expected to keep supplies below average, driving high demand and continued dependence on cross-border imports from neighboring countries,” the food security outlook report stated.