Kenya is racing to import four million bags of maize to plug a deficit that risks plunging the country into a crisis. The available 1,880,704 bags can only sustain millers until end of the month, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
That is a dangerously low level compared to the average 4,250,000 bags that the country consumes every month, which calls into question the quality of planning at Kilimo House, the ministry headquarters.
With the proper harvest season at the country’s bread basket regions starting in September, the mandarins at the ministry should have foreseen the shortfall and taken the necessary steps to ensure adequate supply.
Such kind of planning is all the more crucial considering that importers need at least six weeks to ship in the staple from the markets meeting standards.
Given such timeframe, it is doubtful that the country can plug the big shortfall before the current supply runs out, which means that consumers will ultimately be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to buy their favourite maize flour brands.
That is unfair to millions of households across the country already dealing with reduced incomes, for the lucky few and job losses, for the unlucky.
The price increases would be avoidable if planners did their work properly.
They should pull up their socks. In these uncertain times, proper planning has never been more crucial.