KENYA – President William Ruto has assured Kenyans that by next year, the country will no longer import maize as the state now wants to use public land to produce food and seeds to curb the rising cost of living in the country.

Speaking at the Anglican Church of Kenya Diocese of Eldoret during its commemoration of the 40th Anniversary on October 29, the President emphasized that his government has already earmarked the National Youth Service (NYS) and Kenya Prisons Service among state-owned properties for agricultural activities.

“Next year will be the last year that we will import maize into the country to factor the gap in the production. We will produce enough maize for our consumption. My plan is to make sure we don’t import food into the country,” he stated.

He said that this move would reduce the importation of food and cut back expenditure that has risen to a tune of Sh500 billion (US$3.3B).

“We will cultivate all the land belonging to Kenya Prison Service instead of looking for funds to feed the prisoners; we will farm on their land, feed them, and sell the extra produce. We will use all the idle land in the NYS and KDF,” President Ruto said.

The Head of State noted that the agricultural sector remains the backbone of Kenya’s economic and industrial development, particularly income generation and provision of raw materials.

The President rallied farmers to increase the amount of fertilizer used in their farms to boost their output.

“We can double our production with fertilizer and we have reduced it to Sh2,500 and the profit is yours. It’s up to you and the difference will be made through increased fertilizer use,” the President said.

President Ruto noted that the government has reduced the cost of drying the grain which will assist farmers in reducing post-harvest losses by ensuring their maize is properly dried and stored.

“We don’t want farmers to dry maize on the roads. In the NCPB the drying services which you use to pay Sh300 will now be reduced to Sh70 for 90kg sack. It will be cheaper than drying on the road,” he stated.