LESS PRODUCTION

Maize harvest expected to drop by 30%, says PS Boga

The decline is attributed to erratic long rains and projected depressed short rains

In Summary

• Long rains expected harvest is usually around 36 million bags of maize; this year's projected harvest is 28 million bags.

• Expected harvest for the short rains is usually about seven million bag, but this year it is estimating to be around 3.5 million bags.

A farmer inspects her maize crop in Mwingi North subcounty of Kitui
A farmer inspects her maize crop in Mwingi North subcounty of Kitui
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU
A farmer goes through his maize plantation.
A farmer goes through his maize plantation.
Image: FILE

The maize harvest this year is expected to drop by 30 per cent, the government has said.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said production for both the long and short rain seasons will go down and that has to be factored into the nation's food balance sheet.

Boga said the long-term average for the long rain season harvest is usually around 36 million bags of maize.

“But this year we are estimating around 28 million bags of maize from the long rains harvest. This is due to erratic rains where most areas received 30 per cent less rain,” he said on Wednesday during an interview with the Star.

The Kenya Meteorological Department October-November-December short rains outlook projected depressed rains in many parts of the country.

The PS said this means there will be low production in the Eastern and Central regions. He said the expected harvest for the short rains is usually about seven million bags, but this year they estimate around 3.5 million bags.

“We have to factor this into our planning for next year. By December, we will still have food and prices will still be stable. We expect imports for Uganda and Tanzania between January and February, but we will keep monitoring the situation and production within and even in Uganda and Tanzania,” Boga said.

According to the Food Balance Sheet projected to the end of October, there will be a surplus of about 18.2 million bags of maize, 6.9 million bags of beans, 3.1 million bags of wheat and 200,000 bags of rice.

The estimated domestic stocks indicate that maize stock by the end of July was 21 million bags as a result of harvests in July from the arid and semi-arid regions and parts of high and medium rainfall areas.

Beans stock was at nine million bags and wheat at 2.8 million bags. Most of the maize and beans stock was with farmers while traders and millers held wheat stocks.

“Farmers were holding 20.3 million of 90kg bags, 7.2 million bags of beans, 554, 000 bags of wheat and 708, 000 bags of rice. Millers and traders had 635, 000 bags of maize, 1.8 million bags of beans, and 2.3 and 1.1 million bags of wheat and rice respectively. The National Cereals and Produce Board had 403, 000 of 90 kg bags of maize,” the report says.

But Boga assured that the country has enough maize until March next year.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and the Council of Governors will be monitoring crop yield for the long and short rains, imports and consumption patterns and will address any challenges,” he said.

Edited by Henry Makori