From reported early maize harvests, the government projects that the country will have a great harvest of over 40 million bags for the long rains season alone. This is more than the entirety of the 2021 production year (36.7 million bags).
State officials say this owes greatly to the government’s subsidised fertiliser program that has seen the price of a 50-kilogram bag of fertiliser drop from Sh7,000 last year to Sh3,500 and favourable weather conditions over the last growing season.
According to Principal Secretary in the State Department for Crop Development, Harsama Kello, early reports from warmer ecological zones of the country such as the Eastern, Western, Coast, and parts of Central region per acre yields have increased from seven 90 kilogram bags to between 25 and 40 bags.
“Kenyan farmers have reported under-harvesting over the past few seasons due to inaccessibility of inputs– particularly fertilisers. Most farmers were underapplying fertiliser while some had entirely abandoned fertiliser application as last year’s record prices were beyond their reach. This has changed with the introduction of the government subsidised fertiliser,” the PS said.
He further added that while the country enjoys ideal agronomic conditions there has been a lack of political will to support farmers maximise their harvests.
Speaking earlier this month President William Ruto informed that agripofessionals agree that the country might have its best harvest on record.
“We harvested 44 million bags of maize last year, this year, by the grace of God we will harvest 66 million bags,” he said.
Tackling post-harvest menace
Kenya loses up to 30 per cent of its harvested crop due to poor post-harvest management. To combat this, Harsama said that the government had refurbished most of its 116 National Cereals and Produce Board stores across the country which have a keeping capacity of 20 million bags.
“We want to root out traditional drying systems and have ordered over 100 driers that will enter the country in early October. These will be deployed strategically across the country with the advice of the farming community and will offer drying services at a subsidised cost. The modalities on accessing these driers will be communicated in due time to farmers,” he informed.