Monday, 20, Nov– Members of the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock have directed the Ministry of Agriculture to enhance the production of food substitutes to bolster food security.
In a meeting chaired by Tigania West MP, Hon. Dr. John Mutunga, legislators questioned the Ministry’s approach to boosting alternative staple crops.
“What are you doing to boost production of alternatives to our staple foods? How are you cushioning Kenyans from the maize shortages? The Ministry needs to enhance food substitutes to bolster food security,” highlighted Dr. John Mutunga.
Members of the Committee acknowledged that farmers need to be educated on modern farming techniques and incentivized to grow alternatives to staple crops.
“The prolonged drought from 2020 to 2022, described as the worst in 40 years, led to a 34 per cent national food deficit,” revealed CS Linturi. “Maize production hit a 10-year low at 34.4 million bags, well below the 50 million bags required for national consumption.”
Addressing concerns about Kenya’s staple food crops, maize, and rice, CS Linturi detailed initiatives to reduce post-harvest losses through dryers, revitalize irrigation schemes, and incentivize farming mechanization.
“We have set aside 200,000 hectares of government land for maize production and Agriculture Development Corporation land to be used to increase seed production and subsiding fertilizer to seed multipliers to reduce the price of seed” added CS Linturi.
During the meeting, Gatundu South MP, Hon. Gabriel Kagombe raised the alarm about the 40 per cent maize post-harvest losses. “What is the ministry doing to support farmers and save our harvests?” he asked.
In response, CS Linturi assured the committee that steps were being taken to address these post-harvest maize losses, including the purchase of 100 mobile dryers for maize and a public-private partnership in the storage of maize across the country.