Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has reassured Kenyans that the government is committed to reducing the cost of maize and rice by the end of March.
Speaking at Citizen TV on Thursday CS Linturi said the government is importing maize and rice to curb food shortages in the Country and lower the prices.
According to him, the government is importing 1.1 million tons of rice, 500,0000 tons of yellow maize for cattle, and 900,000 tons of white maize.
Linturi added that the government granted millers a waiver to import duty-free maize and milled rice as the government seeks to reduce the cost of maize flour and rice among other commodities.
In December last year, a notice from the Agriculture ministry noted that an import duty waiver would be granted to millers and importers to import 900,000 metric tons of white grain and 600,000 metric tons of rice from February to August next year to enable the country to have adequate stocks to last until the next harvest from July – August 2023.
CS Linturi however noted that the waiver will be short-term as the government is in the process of working to increase domestic food production in the coming months.
The CS argued that the government’s plan to subsidize the prices of fertilizer is aimed at increasing production in the country and ultimately bringing down the prices of food, especially, maize flour (unga).
Linturi who has been in Zambia noted that he has been benchmarking on farmers’ registration, a project that he says will help the government in its continued plan of issuing farmers with subsidized fertilizers among other farm inputs.
Zambia embarked on farmers’ registration 16 years ago.
Earlier this month CS Linturi signed a memorandum of understanding with his Zambian counterpart to have large-scale farmers plant maize on 49, 000 acres in Zambia and then export the commodity to the country.
The price of maize flour, a staple food across many Kenyan households has risen sharply following poor rains over the last two years, resulting in a two-kilogram packet going for Sh210 up from about Sh120 previously.