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Govt washes its hands off maize, fertilizer

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – The government has announced that it will no longer directly buy, sell, or set maize prices in the country to create an efficient and competitive food market.

Speaking in Nairobi, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya added that the government will also no longer purchase, distribute, sell or set prices of fertilizer, seeds, or any farm inputs.

Munya said the move would allow the government to focus on its key role of creating an enabling environment for producers and traders.

“To address challenges facing agricultural production and trade, Cabinet has directed reforms anchored on warehouse receipt system, enhanced private sector participation, revamped oversight committee on food balance sheet, institutional reforms to eliminate overlapping roles.,” Munya said.

Munya noted that historically, the government through the Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) had intervened in the maize market purchasing maize produce at prices higher than prevailing market prices, stored Produce at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB)  and released maize to the market when prices were below the market price a situation he termed as both undesirable and unsustainable.

He further announced the creation of the National Food Reserve within the National Cereals and Produce board.

According to the CS, the Reserve will be structured on commercial processes to avoid market distortions and opaqueness. 

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