Sunday, November 4, 2012

Food security stable after bumper harvest: report

Farmers had in their custody 10.3 million bags at the end of last month, up from 9.6 million in August. The  increase was largely attributed to a good harvest.

Farmers had in their custody 10.3 million bags at the end of last month, up from 9.6 million in August. The increase was largely attributed to a good harvest. Photo/FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

The country’s food security is stable following good maize harvests from the long rains, the Ministry of Agriculture has said.

According to its latest food security report, the ministry notes that as at September 30, Kenya had 17.3 million maize stocks up from 16 million bags at the end of August.

This number is, however, expected to increase since harvesting in parts of Central, Western, Rift Valley and Northern parts of Eastern provinces is still going on.

Farmers had in their custody 10.3 million bags at the end of last month, up from 9.6 million in August. The increase was largely attributed to a good harvest.

The report also shows that due to increased grain availability, millers’ stocks declined to 2.6 million bags from 3.5 million bags while traders’ stocks increased to 2.2 million bags from 1.8 million bags respectively during the same period.

“In general, prices of most basic food commodities continue to improve although the overall Consumer Price Index increased marginally by 0.29 per cent to 131.89 from 131.51 during the period due to improved demand for processed and secondary products.”

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics says the marginal increase of the CPI is mainly attributed to increased demand for the secondary products.

“Although there was decline in prices of basic food commodities such as maize, beans, sukuma wiki (kales) tomatoes, onions and carrots, there was also increased demand for processed and animal products such as sugar, beef, eggs, among others, leading to slight increase in their prices,” reads part of the report.

Although prices of most commodities have declined, the report says the prices of wheat have increased due to projected low supplies in the US and Russia — countries from which Kenya traditionally imports wheat.

The national wheat stocks stood at 2,395,670 bags in September compared to 2,456,140 bags in August.

“The decline is due to reduced local supplies as harvesting of long rains crop winded up in most places. In addition, wheat imports from overseas countries declined during the month of September compared to August 2012,” the report notes.

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