Commodities

Ministry warns of lower maize production as rains disrupt harvesting

maize-pic

Workers spread dry maize to dry by the roadside in Elburgon town, Nakuru County in this photo taken on October 18, 2021. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NATION.

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Summary

  • The rains have caught up with the harvest period due to late planting earlier this year following delayed rains, reflecting the problems faced by farmers due to erratic weather patterns.
  • Any loss of produce will come as a blow given that Kenya is already grappling with an annual deficit of maize.
  • Farmers want the government to offer a solution by providing dryers at affordable charges in order to avert the expected losses.

The ongoing rains in the country’s breadbasket counties of Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu have hampered harvesting of mature maize and will have a negative impact on this year’s production target, the Ministry of Agriculture has warned.

The October rains have coincided with harvesting in the two counties, with farmers now fearing that their produce will rot in farms.

The rains have caught up with the harvest period due to late planting earlier this year following delayed rains, reflecting the problems faced by farmers due to erratic weather patterns.

“Harvesting of maize has started in some areas and due to the prevailing wet conditions, rotting is expected to increase thereby increasing the post-harvest losses,” said the Ministry of Agriculture.

Any loss of produce will come as a blow given that Kenya is already grappling with an annual deficit of maize.

Projections by the government show that this year's production will be 20 percent lower compared to 2020 due to late rains during planting season and an armyworm invasion.

Farmers want the government to offer a solution by providing dryers at affordable charges in order to avert the expected losses.

Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo said without this provision, farmers will suffer significant losses if the rains persist.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) normally offers drying charges to farmers at a fee of Sh50 per drop of the unit measure of moisture.

In 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive to NCPB to review maize drying charges for farmers by 50 percent from Sh40 to Sh20 following heavy rains that threatened to affect the grain.

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