Maize shortage will be contained in 1 month, CS says

Tuesday July 18 2017

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CS Willy Bett (left) and the American ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec at the launch of the 1st National Youth in Agribusiness Conference at KCB Leadership Centre in Karen, Nairobi on July 18, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries CS Willy Bett (left) and the American ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec at the launch of the 1st National Youth in Agribusiness Conference at KCB Leadership Centre in Karen, Nairobi on July 18, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAVID MWERE
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Acute maize shortage will be contained within the next one month, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has said.

Mr Bett, who spoke at the 1st National Youth in Agribusiness Conference in Karen, Nairobi, said expected surplus of maize follows importation from the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa region as well as expected local production.

“We have imported maize from various global market segments to contain the acute shortage of the commodity following effects of prolonged drought,” Mr Bett said.

HAVE STARTED

He said farmers from the South Rift and the western part of the country have started harvesting while other regions will do so in a month’s time.

“More of this maize has also started coming in from Tanzania and Uganda. In the next one month, the local market will have enough maize to feed the population,” he said.

The shortage of maize in the country saw the price of a two-kilogramme packet of flour shoot to an all-time high of Sh190, prompting the government to chip in with subsidised flour at a cost of Sh90 for a two-kilogramme packet.

EMBRACE AGRICULTURE

Meanwhile Kenyan youth have been challenged to embrace agribusiness as a way of getting them out of criminal activities and the cycle of high poverty.

Addressing the conference speakers, who included US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, Mr Bett, Chief Justice David Maraga and Youth and Gender Affairs CS Sicily Kariuki, noted that agriculture offers attractive and sustainable employment for the youth through active involvement in agribusiness.

“The young people want to live in the cities and towns as celebrities yet the truth is that agriculture can make young people have a successful life,” Mr Godec said as he unveiled the Kenya Youth in Agribusiness strategy.