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Grain production shortfalls call for overhaul of the entire sector - 6 days ago, 06:06

Robert Shaw

Kenya is a major food importer. Despite its huge potential to improve production capacity, it will remain a major importer of grains for the foreseeable future.

For example, our wheat and rice consumption outstrip production by a 70:30 ratio. In the case of maize, it is 54:41. That means the bulk of wheat and rice is imported.

In a good year, when there is adequate rainfall and good growing conditions, Kenya can be self-sufficient in maize but, mostly, (in)formal imports top up domestic production.

We imported 1.1 million tonnes of maize in 2015 and around 900 million tonnes in 2017. We will need to import around 800 million tonnes this year.

If we could minimise post-harvest losses, which account for as much as 20 per cent of production, that ratio would reduce considerably.

But, we will continue to import large quantities of wheat and rice and smaller quantities of maize on an ‘as and ...
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