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Kenya: Food Security improves as state imports maize

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The national food situation has improved a few days to the election, following recent maize imports, the Agriculture ministry has said.

Some 5,084,283 bags of maize have been imported to date.

On July 18, Agriculture CS Willy Bett said the acute maize shortage would be contained within a month.

The government has subsidised the price of maize flour to Sh90 per 2kg packet.

On Tuesday, the ministry’s director of crops, Johnson Irungu, said maize imports have increased from mid-June and harvesting is going on in Central, Eastern and Coastal regions.

“Although production is below expectation, food supplies have improved at the household level and at market outlets in the non-arid and semi-arid areas,” he said.

“Prices of major staples such as maize, beans, Irish potatoes and fresh vegetables are on a downward trend.”

Irungu said with the additional import of 2,760,172 bags in July, maize stock on July 31 were estimated at 5,611,300 million bags.

Peak harvest in October

The July food situation report released yesterday showed farmers are holding about 2,950,000 million bags, traders and millers 1.4 million bags and the National Cereals and Produce Board 1,261,306 million bags.

Beans stock is 3.5 million bags, wheat 950,000 bags and rice 607,000 bags. By April, the food situation report indicated the country had an estimated maize stock of 6.4 million bags and there was a projection of maize deficit of 4.2 million bags come this month.

“The ongoing crop harvests should stabilise the food situation with peak harvest expected in mid-October,” Irungu said.

He said maize prices could stabilise from a high of Sh5,000 to Sh6,000 in April to the current price of Sh3,200 to Sh4,800.

In Western, where maize harvest has started, a 90kg bag sells at Sh3,200, Sh3,200 in Nakuru, Sh3,800 in Nairobi, Sh4,300 in Mombasa and Sh4,800 in Kisumu.

The Consumer Price Index released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed that July inflation decreased and food was less expensive.

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