A supremacy battle by different government ministries is playing out in the open over the importation of maize with Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi saying the decision lies with his office.
Mr Linturi said yesterday the Ministry of Agriculture is the one mandated with import decisions after establishing the shortfall that the country is facing in order to determine the number of bags to be shipped into the country.
The remarks come just days after Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said the country will have to import at least 10 million bags of maize to bridge the local deficit and address the runaway price of flour that has now hit Sh213 for a two-kilogramme packet.
Mr Linturi said he will be making a comprehensive statement in the course of the week in regard to the food situation in the country and what needs to be done.
“I am not aware of what Kuria said… I am the custodian of statistics on how much food we require in this country and what we consume every day. Right now my technical people have worked on all the deficit in terms of maize, beans and rice,” said Mr Linturi.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi also weighed into the matter yesterday saying the decision on imports is supposed to be made by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The issue of importation of maize should be guided by a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture to find out if there is a deficit of the grains… it is agriculture docket that will issue an importation order looking at the food situation in the country,” said Mr Mudavadi.
Head of Public Service Felix Koskei also waded into the matter on Sunday, saying the government will allow the importation of 10 million bags.
“The country is faced with the shortage of 10 million bags and the government will not suspend the importation process as demanded by some leaders at the expense of millions of Kenyans faced with starvation,” said Mr Koskei.
Mr Linturi said they will come up with the decision once all the required data, which will inform the next course of action has been received from the technical team.