FOOD SECURITY

Country has enough maizeto last until June – report

Food stability in the country attributed to good harvests in 2020

In Summary

• The Food Balance Sheet projected to end of January 2021 shows maize surplus of about 21 million bags, 3.9 million bags of beans, 5.9 million bags of wheat and 238,790 bags of rice.

•  The report indicates that the bulk of the 2020 long rains maize harvesting is complete except for a few high altitude areas in Kisii, Mau Narok, Nakuru and Nyandarua.

Farmers harvest maize
MAXIMUM PRODUCTION: Farmers harvest maize
Image: COURTESY

The country has enough maize to last until June, the January 2021 food security report from the Ministry of Agriculture shows.

The report indicates that the bulk of the 2020 long rains maize harvesting is complete except for a few high altitude areas in Kisii, Mau Narok, Nakuru and Nyandarua.

“Harvesting of 2020 short rains maize is going on in Nyanza and parts of Western but the bulk of the harvesting is expected from March this year."

Long rain bean crops performed well except in a few counties that experienced excess downpours. The short rain bean harvesting is complete in Nyanza and western regions, while harvesting is going on in parts of Narok, Bomet and Nyamira.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said on Wednesday the Food Balance Sheet projected to end of January 2021 shows maize surplus of about 21 million bags, 3.9 million bags of beans, 5.9 million bags of wheat and 238,790 bags of rice.

The PS spoke to the Star during an interview on the current food security situation.  

He said domestic food availability at household level was stable, which was attributed to harvests in short rains of 2020 and long rains harvest that started in June in a few counties. More counties are harvesting during this period.

“Market and domestic supplies were also adequate as markets have been opened and are operational,” Boga said.

He said most food crops in the high and medium rainfall areas of North and Central Rift regions, Western, Nyanza and parts of Central regions performed relatively well during the 2020 seasons.

However, in Eastern, Coast and parts of Central, the performance of long rains was moderate. But during short rains, the food crops in these regions experience moisture stress, which affects the expected production.

The PS said expected short rains production is between 35-60 per cent of the normal for most crops, and that despite the poor performance of short rains in some counties, food is available in the markets.

The food security report further indicated that the dry spell in December 2020 affected most of the food crops, especially in the Coast, Eastern and parts of Central regions.

“But in the first week of January 2021, several parts of the Coast, Eastern and Central regions that highly depend on short rains received some showers that have improved conditions of some food crops, especially maize, sorghum, millet and root crops,” the report read.

Boga said the impact of the January showers is being monitored by field extension officers and will become clearer towards the third week of January 2021.