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Bumper wheat harvest expected in Kenya

Wheat farmers in the country have had a very good harvest, and the government is expecting slightly over 1.2 million bags from across the country.

State Department for Crop Development Principal Secretary (PS) Kello Harsama said that they have set the buying price for wheat so that one bag of grade-one wheat will go for Sh5,200 and one bag of grade-two wheat will go for Sh5,100.

Speaking on Tuesday during the media launch of the African Conference on Agricultural Technologies (ACAT), the PS said that under a programme which was agreed upon between the Treasury, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Cereal Millers Association, and wheat farmers, the cereal millers association is supposed to mop up the entire local production of wheat before they are allowed to import it.

“Under this programme, the importation duty is reduced from 35 per cent to 10 per cent and the local millers have agreed that they will first buy the whole harvest locally, thus providing a good market for the farmers,” said Harsama.

He explained that after the millers have mopped up the local wheat, they will be allowed to import another two million bags from other countries to satisfy our demand of about three million bags per year.

“The developments between Russia and Ukraine where the exportation of wheat from Ukraine has been stopped are worrying because we used to get almost our entire wheat supply from Ukraine, and those who are importing the wheat have to ensure that they get a sustainable supply of wheat from alternative sources,” explained the PS.

Harsama added that they also expect a good maize harvest of about 44 million bags, which is sufficient to feed the country.

“We have also started receiving maize from Tanzania and Uganda as we wait for our maize to mature. Due to the supply of maize from our neighbouring countries, the price of a bag of maize has decreased from Sh6, 000 to Sh5, 000, and we expect a significant decrease in the price of unga this week,” explained the PS.

Harsama said that due to the decrease in the maize price, some of the millers have reduced unga prices from Sh220 to Sh175 which is very good news for Kenyans and expressed hope that the price will reduce even further.

“In the next one month we will start milling our own maize, which will further reduce the price of Unga,” said Harsama.

He explained that what they are doing now is planning so that they can reduce post-harvest losses arising from dampness and poor storage, and the government is planning to buy driers which will be placed in various cereal boards across the country to reduce the post-harvest losses.

“These driers will also ensure that the problem of aflatoxin is solved since it is associated with improper drying,” said the PS.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a 

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