The kneejerk reaction that has characterized the government’s reaction to a biting food shortage that has left millions starving and pushed up the prices of staples such as maize flour beyond the reach of low-income households is to say the least utterly disappointing.
This is mainly because official pronouncements so far made on this critical subject have only tended to skew facts and target political capital.
Take Agriculture secretary Willy Bett and Treasury’s Henry Rotich’s Tuesday announcement that the State was releasing one million bags of Strategic Reserve maize to ease the shortage as an example.
With consumption standing at about four million bags of maize a month, one wonders what impact one million bags would have in the marketplace given the revelation that imported maize from Mexico will only arrive in a month’s time.
Then enter Water minister Eugene Wamalwa with his thinly veiled lie that the State was about to release cheap flour from its Galana irrigation scheme effort. The fact is that the much discredited large-scale farm only produced 126,000 bags of maize and has only milled 5,000 bags.
Now assuming that the entire 165,000 bags were milled and released in the market, they would only last one and a half days. Enough to bring down the cost of Unga?