KENYA – Kenya has received white maize, sorghum, and wheat from overseas steered to ease a shortage of common commodities in a bid to avert the food crisis in the country, the Business Daily has reported.

The shipment carrying 21,455 metric tonnes of white maize from Mozambique docked at the port of Mombasa on April 5 while 22,820 metric tonnes of sorghum and 27,998 metric tonnes of wheat arrived from Canada and the US respectively.

According to Business Daily, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said that the three commodities all docked on April 4 but could not give the details of who is importing them, saying it would be overstepping its mandate.

We will check for you (the details to do with the importers) once the manifest is confirmed through customs. This will take time,” said the KPA corporate communications office

However, the State agency said all the vessels would dock at a berth owned and operated by the Grain Bulk Handlers.

This comes at a time when the state of maize business in the country has been in jeopardy as recently, millers had delays in the importation of duty-free maize coupled with competition for the commodity between millers and humanitarian agencies further affecting retail prices.

However, the situation may not take long as the long-awaited rains have started to fall across the country signaling hope for farmers as exhibited by the ongoing land preparations for the season planting

As the country find short-term remedies, the government allowed millers and traders to import 10 million bags of maize duty-free to ease the shortage but millers refused to commit, citing the MOU as unfair.

As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture had said the government was compelled to issue at least 50 permits to traders, adding that, the Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said the import would be shipped in by the private sector.

Government donates 8.4 tons of seed to farmers in Marsabit

Meanwhile, the Marsabet county government, one of the country’s semi-arid areas, plans on distributing 8.4 tons of seed to farmers as a way of addressing the adverse effects of drought arising from the failure of rainfall for four consecutive seasons.

According to Kenya News Agency, the decision was reached after the officials realized that most of the subsistence farmers who have been reeling under severe prolonged drought could not afford to buy the seed for planting as the rain pours throughout the country.   

Speaking during the flag-off, County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Mr. Hussein Ali stated that the intervention was aimed at boosting agricultural productivity, employment creation, and stimulation of the rural economy.

The agricultural inputs include high-quality yielding seed varieties for 4,120 kilograms of maize seed, 2,000 kilograms of green grams, 100 kilograms of kales, 240 kilograms of cowpeas, and 2,000 kilograms of sorghum.

Julius Gitu, the County Director for Agriculture, revealed that the seeds were obtained from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Kalro) and the Kenya Seed Company to ensure that they were certified and suited for growing in the arid and semi-arid region.

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