NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – The government will spend Sh6 billion to subsidize maize to make the staple food affordable to Kenyans, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He said the money will be used to buy all the maize offered for sale by farmers this season under the government’s strategic food reserve programme to boost food security and sustain affordable price for maize flour.
“To boost our food security and sustain affordable price for maize flour, the Government will buy under the Strategic Food Reserve, all the maize offered for sale by our farmers during this 2017/18 season. For this purpose, we have programmed to spend Sh6 billion,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking when he officially opened this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair at the Jamhuri Park Showground on Wednesday, the President also assured that his administration will not waiver in its effort to cushion consumers against high food prices.
“As a caring administration, we had to take steps to cushion consumers against the high food prices. In this regard, we instituted and successfully implemented a subsidized maize flour programme that lowered the price of a 2kg packet of maize flour from Sh150 to Sh90,” President Kenyatta said.
He underscored his administration’s commitment to boost the country’s food security by transforming agriculture from subsistence to commercial, market oriented farming.
He said in the current Financial Year, the Government has allocated Sh30 billion to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to finance implementation of programmes that will enhance agricultural production and ensure food security.
As part of the Jubilee administration’s agenda to ensure Kenyans have access to food at affordable prices, he said measures have been put in place to improve accessibility of fertilizer to farmers at a reasonable cost.
“In 2016/2017 financial year, as an example, the government procured and distributed a total of 177,100MT of various types of fertilizers at a cost of Sh5.9 billion. The subsidized fertilizer is retailing at Sh1,800 per 50 kg,” President Kenyatta said.
To further cushion farmers against rising cost of inputs, President Kenyatta said the Government has reduced the price of planting fertilizer to Sh1,200 per 50kg for the next season.
To fight the emergence of a new pest known as “fall army worm” that has affected the cereal sub-sector, the President said the Government has constituted a multi-institutional technical team of experts and provided Sh300 million towards containing this pest.
Other government efforts to boost agricultural productivity include the provision of livestock and crop insurance programmes, facilitating farmers to access affordable credit and expanding markets for the country’s exports mainly tea, coffee and horticultural produce.
Other speakers included Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett and the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) National Chairperson Annabel Kiriinya.