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Food shortage looms in the country

There are fears that the country might face food shortages in the coming months as evidenced by the sharp demand for food against high prices of farm produce.
Already, the chairman of the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) Noah Wekesa has raised an alarm over the country’s maize stock which he said has run out.
Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) CEO Wesley Siele said there was need to address the current high prices of farm inputs and support farmers mainly in the country’s food baskets in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saying that the sector fully supports the government measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus, the CEO asked the government not to forget the farming sector which he said was critical in the fight against the pandemic.
He called on the government to support farmers involved in production of fresh produce by zero-rating farm inputs like fertilizer and chemicals to cushion them from losses.
“We need to address the issue of food security in the coming months by supporting farmers at this planting season as failure to do so will lead to food shortage,” he said.
Siele said it was unfortunate that two weeks after the President ordered for VAT refunds, the directive was yet to be effected.
Former chairman of the Agriculture committee in parliament John Mututho said consumption of food had risen following confinement of people at their homes and warned that the country could face another challenge in food shortage in the coming days if the government failed to support farmers.
Mututho asked the government to waive tax on all farm inputs so that farmers could produce more as the government continued to put more measures in place to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.
He said Naivasha, which is home to tens of flower farms and hoteliers, has been adversely affected by the pandemic with nearly all farm workers having gone home, a move he said might lead to a food crisis.
By Esther Mwangi

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