The Ministry of Devolution is set to release Sh90 million more to buy maize from the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme for famine relief as shortage of the commodity hits the market.
It will be sold at a subsidised rate of Sh3,000 a bag compared to Sh3,500 that millers pay, said National Irrigation Board (NIB) chief engineer in charge of planning and design Mwangi Thuita.
“The ministry is spending Sh90 million to purchase the maize harvested at the scheme,” said Mr Thuita.
So far, the scheme has sold 23,000 bags of maize to the ministry for distribution to Tana River, Kilifi and Kwale counties and an additional 24,000 bags for Lamu, Taita Taveta and Mombasa regions.
NIB has harvested 103,000 bags of maize from the first phase of the model farm where 5,000 acres have been put under the crop, so far.
The ongoing drought has seen the Treasury release Sh16 billion to mitigate losses occasioned by severe weather, even as it warns of a worsening situation in days with the number of those affected projected to rise from 1.5 million to two million.
NIB, the implementers of the Galana project, says 85 per cent of the infrastructural works have been completed in the first phase of the 10,000 acre model farm with 75 per cent of the Sh7 billion budget for the first phase having been absorbed.
Acting NIB general manager Mugambi Gitonga says: “We have so far planted maize in 5,000 acres of land of the entire project and 85 per cent of works on the farm, which is actually the key activity in this project, has been covered.”
The shortage of the staple in the market has seen a sharp increase in price of flour with a two kilogramme packet going at an average of Sh119, according to the latest data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
In the last few years, the prices of maize have not been stable, leading to a decline in the per capita maize consumption.