The Strategic Food Reserve Board (SFR) has shelved the intended maize imports, citing a steady supply of grain in the market.
SFR chairperson Noah Wekesa says following a stable supply resulting from an increase in imports from Tanzania and Uganda, there was no need for the imports.
The agency had proposed importation of 2.5 million bags in July to cushion the country against the anticipated shortage between August and September before the onset of the main crop harvest in the north Rift. “There is no need for importation now. Our assumption was informed by the fact that there would be no sufficient grain in the country in August and September. However, our monitoring has revealed there is sufficient maize and that is why we have dropped imports plans,” Dr Wekesa said in an interview.
He noted cross-border maize coming in from Uganda and Tanzania has helped to normalise the situation.
The import has been a contentious issue between SFR and the Ministry of Agriculture. Whereas the board wanted importation of 2.5 million bags, the ministry wanted 12.5 million bags shipped in. The ministry had made elaborate plans to import 11.1 million bags of maize from Mexico to bridge the deficit.
It announced in March that Kenya would run out of maize at the end of July and sought imports from Mexico before the situation got out of hand.
The pressure saw Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri change his mind on imports from Mexico, opting for regional countries such as Malawi and Zambia.
"We are going to scout the grain from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries," Mr Kiunjuri told Members of Parliament last month.