By Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s maize production in 2017 is
expected to be lower than 2016 due to prolonged dry
spell being experienced across the East African nation,
researchers said on Thursday.
from the Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policies and
Development, an agricultural think tank, called on the
government to start planning importation of maize for
use before the 2018 harvest in August.
Onyango, a researcher at the institute, said the
government will have to import maize for consumption
from May following late onset of rain and prolonged drought
the food situation has improved in parts of the country,
2017 production is expected to be lower than 2016
harvest by an estimated 20 percent,” Onyango said in
Nairobi while presenting a food situation assessment and
prospects for 2017/2018.
that the situation has been worsened by attack and
infestation by fall armyworms, incidences of maize smut
disease and the maize lethal necrosis disease.
noted that the food situation in most pastoral and
agro-pastoral areas are worse as over 3.5 million people
are acutely food insecure and in need of humanitarian
production system is uncertain and overwhelmed hence the
need to efficiently produce maize and other staples
under irrigation,” he added.
Tim Njagi, a
senior researcher at the institute, observed that to
reduce costs and improve competitiveness, the government
must embark on improving productivity, lower cost of
input and also introduce fertilizer cost reduction
that despite the government fast tracking an ambitious
200-million-U.S.-dollar fertilizer subsidy program,
productivity of maize per acre has decreased drastically
over the years.
soil fertility, planting of low-quality seeds and poor
distribution of rainfall have affected maize production
rate per acre over the years,” he said.
researcher asked the government to revamp extension
systems, called for constant surveillance and concerted
efforts to identify and control pests and diseases.
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
estimates post-harvest loses to the tune of between
10-12 percent every year. This is due to poor storage
facilities as well as early harvesting.
that was commissioned to establish the general food
situation in the country with emphasis on maize, rice,
wheat, potatoes and other major staples, called on the
government to promote production and access of other
food crops besides maize.
farmers protest poor prices as citizens enjoy subsidy