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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya increases strategic food reserve 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya said on Monday that it plans to increase its strategic food reserve to 8 million bags of maize in the medium term to boost food security.

Eugene Wamalwa, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Devolution, told journalists in Nairobi that 14 million U.S. dollars has been set aside in the current financial year to purchase maize both locally and abroad to boost the food reserve.

“The current stock levels of 3 million bags of the staple crop is not a sufficient buffer stock in case of a drought or pests or high international price of maize,” Wamalwa said.

He said the biggest threats facing maize production are drought and fall army worms.

Data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that the country produces approximately 39 million bags of maize annually against a consumption of 46 million bags.

The shortfall is met through imports from international markets as well as through informal trade from Uganda and Tanzania, Wamalwa said.

To guarantee more maize production, he said, the government is enhancing investment in irrigation as well as fertilizer subsidies to maize farmers.

Wamalwa said over-dependence on a single crop makes the country vulnerable to food shortages and that the country is promoting production of potatoes and indigenous cereals such as sorghum and millet that are more resilient to drought conditions.

             

 

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