• Long rains maize harvest will be at an estimated 38 million bags and four million bags for the short rains season.
• 2019-20 maize harvest was at 44 million bags.
The country is expecting 42 million bags of maize from this year's harvest, the Agriculture PS says.
This will be a decline of two million bags from last year’s 44 million bags. Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said even though the short rains were problematic at the beginning, they started picking up early this month. He said this is good for the short rains crops.
“Things are not so bad in some parts of Voi, Ukambani and parts of Kwale. There are some rains and the crops will be able to recover,” he said.
He spoke to the Star in interview on Thursday.
Boga said the current stability of national food security is due to the average to above-average 2020 long rains harvest that has been going on in most non-arid and semi-arid counties.
In the ASAL counties, the range land resources and livestock production conditions are still good, with livestock prices still above the long-term average.
Boga said harvesting of maize is going on in the major growing zones in the North Rift, parts of South Rift (Nakuru, Kericho, Nandi) and the Western region.
“These regions have been experiencing heavy rains, which may lead to higher post-harvest losses,” he said.
Timothy Njagi, a senior researcher from Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development – Egerton University, said the rain was favourable for both the long and short seasons and the country’s maize production will be good.
“We are likely to get an estimated 38 million bags of maize for the long rains season and another four million bags for the short rains season. This will take us through to June,” he said.
Njagi said there is a need to monitor post-harvest losses, though it is likely to be lower than 2019-20 when there was flooding and the onset of the desert locust invasion.
The Kenya Meteorological Department and IGAD short rains forecast indicated low rainfall in most parts of the Coast, Eastern, Central and Northeastern regions.
The PS noted that up to the end of October 2020, the regions with poor short rains forecasts completed planting of the short rains crops, and that so far, the crops are still doing well.
“During the reported period, desert locust was reported in parts of the coastal region. However, the locust response unit reported that adequate measures are available to ensure the locusts do not adversely affect the short rains crops in the affected regions,” he said.