KENYA – The Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi has flagged off the recently received consignment of grain dryers to be distributed in the larger Rift Valley region as El Nino wreaks havoc on maize farms.

According to Linturi, the dryers have the capacity to dry 14 tonnes of maize in two hours.

The 100-grain dryers landed in the country last week following the government’s allocation of KES2 billion (US$13.5M) for their acquisition to mitigate post-harvest losses during the harvesting season.

The CS was speaking at Ziwa NCPB depot in Soy Constituency in Uasin Gishu County where a demonstration was conducted to farmers on how maize will be dried using the mobile dryers to achieve the desired moisture levels. He later continued with the distribution in Nandi County.  

The government made a commitment to distribute grain dryers across the country to reduce post-harvest losses caused by aflatoxin among other factors.  

This will drastically help our farmers to reduce post-harvest losses leading to increased farmers’ earnings and a more stable grain reserve for the country.

In Kenya, maize production has steadily declined in recent years driven by drought, land subdivision, poor quality of fertilizer, land overuse, and high cost of inputs with production reducing from a high of 44.6 million bags in 2018 to just 34.3 million in 2022.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the country harvested 34.3 million bags of maize last year, a significant drop from the 36.7 million bags harvested in the previous season.

However, for this year’s harvesting season, the Ministry of Agriculture has said the country is expecting a bumper harvest this year of between 35 million to 40 million 90kg bags.

This, according to government officials relates to the current administration’s commitment to support farmers in a bid to boost food security in the country.

Recently, President Ruto while delivering his first State of the Nation address in Parliament noted that the move to subsidize the cost of fertilizer was a masterstroke in the plan noting it has reduced from the previous KES 6, 500 (US$42.72) to now KES 2, 500 (US$16.43) per bag.

The head of state added that the move has now seen the maize production, in the country, go up by 200,000 per care this year with 18 million additional bags of maize set to be harvested.

I urge maize farmers to continue registering in the ongoing farmer registration exercise to benefit from Government subsidy programs like the subsidized fertilizer to enhance food and nutrition security in our country,” said Linturi.