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Maize Production Outlook and Implications for Food Security
a Presentation by John Olwande and Francis Karin, Tegemeo Institute
at the Kenya's food situation: challenges and opportunities Roundtable
held at Laico regency hotel, Nairobi on 18th september, 2009

 

The presentation by Mr. Olwande highlighted the results of a situational analysis of maize production in the country conducted by Tegemeo in early September, 2009. Findings of the study showed that, contingent upon the North Rift region where most of the maize crop was at milk or tasseling stages receiving adequate rainfall, the country is likely to harvest approximately 17.6 million bags of maize from the long rains season. This amounts to only 61% of the 28 million bags that had been targeted. In addition, and contingent upon adequate rainfall during the short rains season, 6 million bags are expected. Under the best case scenario, therefore, Kenya expects maize production of about 23 million bags in 2009/2010 cropping year. With maize consumption needs of about 37 million bags, the country will experience a shortfall of about 14 million bags. In case the rainfall continues to be depressed for the long rains crop in the North Rift and during the short rains season, the estimated production could even be lower. In addition, the estimated production figures have not been adjusted for: (i) harvesting of green maize, which is gaining currency in the South and North Rift regions; (ii) likely impacts of the El Nino condition, which may cause destruction of the long rains maize crop in the fields (in Rift Valley) or enhance production in the short rains season (especially in the Eastern region); and, (iii) maize production from the Government’s irrigated land, which is expected in December.

In suggesting the way forward, Mr. Olwande outlined various recommendations. In the short term, the government can ensure that the adverse effects of the food shortage are mitigated through expansion of relief efforts; stimulating production in the short rains season through providing farmers with targeted fertilizer and seed support, and expansion of irrigation; and, maintain duty waiver on maize to allow adequate and affordable imports. In the long term, there is need to focus attention to productivity enhancing investments, mainly in expansion of irrigation, improvement of roads and railway infrastructure and research and development; and, improving access by farmers to productivity enhancing technologies through public private partnerships.

Download the Presentation(ppt)

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