KENYA – Murang’a County has announced a groundbreaking initiative to boost maize farming with a KES 100 million (US$784,551) investment aimed at increasing maize yields in the region.

Governor Irungu Kang’ata revealed that the programme, set to commence in October, will provide certified seeds and fertilizer to farmers, targeting primarily the lower parts of the county, which are known for their favorable maize farming conditions.

Governor Kang’ata, while addressing farmers from Kiru Ward at Rurii grounds, emphasized the significance of this initiative for the county’s agricultural sector.

He stated that the county government plans to register at least 500 maize farmers in every ward to benefit from the program.

In a strategic move to ensure market stability for the produce, his administration has partnered with Joy Millers, a local milling company, which has committed to purchasing a 90-kilogram sack of maize for Sh3,500.

“In the program, the registered farmers will get certified maize seeds and fertilizer to increase production,” explained Kang’ata.

Historically, Murang’a farmers have primarily produced maize for subsistence. With this new support system, the county expects a surge in production, enabling farmers to sell surplus maize.

Agricultural extension officers will be deployed to educate farmers on best practices, addressing challenges such as the fall armyworm, which has adversely affected maize yields in recent years.

Murang’a County, characterized by three distinct ecological zones, sees tea farming dominating the upper regions, coffee and subsistence crops in the middle zones, and maize and beans primarily cultivated in the lower regions.

The programme is tailored to enhance the productivity of the lower regions, leveraging their optimal conditions for maize farming.

The initiative comes when the current administration under President Wiliam Ruto aims to end maize import by 2025.

Speaking during a meeting with Kenyans in the United States in Atlanta on May 20,  President Ruto said that Kenya would end grain imports by 2025, signaling a significant shift in Kenya’s agricultural policy to boost local production and reduce dependency on foreign supplies. 

We are going to invest in production. By next year, we are not going to be importing a grain of maize. We will move on to rice, wheat, and in five years, the one billion dollars we use in import of edible oils,” President Ruto declared.

The president said the growing import bill, new agricultural production policies, and a favorable weather condition for maize growing are attributable to the new paradigm shift.

This bold initiative could significantly impact Kenya’s primary maize suppliers, particularly Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia, potentially altering regional trade dynamics.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.