Food Security in Kenya
a Presentation by James Malingá, Assistant Director of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture
at the Kenya's food situation: challenges and opportunities Roundtable
held at Laico regency hotel, Nairobi on 18th september, 2009


The presentation by Mr. Malingá addressed a number of issues. With regard to the current food situation, he pointed out that about 80% of the maize crop in North Rift is at grain filling stage and requires rains up to end of October, and so early rain cessation will lead to a drop in yield. The larger Trans Nzoia is expecting 3.3 million bags against a long-term average (LTA) of 4.3 million bags, while the larger Uasin Gishu expects 2 million bags compared to a LTA of 3 million bags. Western and Nyanza provinces, in normal years, produce nearly enough maize for local consumption (3.5–4 million bags), but in this year, 3.7 million bags are expected in Western Province, and another 3.6 million bags in Nyanza Province. In addition, maize in North Rift could be in danger of lodging in the fields, sprouting and rotting, during El Nino and a subsidy for farmers for grain drying has been recommended. He indicated that the national maize stocks were at 7.5 million bags, with NCPB holding 2.6 million bags, while the private sector, NCPB, international agencies & others imported about 2 million bags in August, 2009.

In addition, he highlighted the initiatives that the government has put in place in order to mitigate current food insecurity situation, broadly described as programmes and policies that respond to immediate needs of the poor and food insecure, as well as long term actions to enhance productive potential and incomes. The short term interventions include waiver of duty on imported maize in times of need, GoK to import and replenish Strategic Grain Reserve, maize producer prices to be increased (KES 2,300 per 90kg), fertilizer bulk procurement by government, and reduction in fertilizer prices to KES 2,000 for DAP and KES 1,400 for CAN for 50kg bag. The long term interventions include targeted food security programmes such as: (i) Njaa Marufuku Kenya (NMK) with the overall goal of contributing to reduction of poverty, hunger and food insecurity among poor and vulnerable communities in Kenya; (ii) National Accelerated Agriculture Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP) whose objective is to improve access and affordability of key inputs to small holder farmers, particularly those living below the absolute poverty line, so that they can get out of the vicious cycle of poverty and participate in agriculture as a business enterprise; (iii) Orphaned Crops Programme which aims at diversifying sources of food through promotion of indigenous crops that are drought tolerant; (iv) Revitalization of Agricultural Mechanization Services whose objective is to improve agricultural infrastructure and land development to Kenyan farmers; (v) and, irrigated food production; Other long term income generating programmes include Cotton Development, Water Harvesting for Crop Production, Small-scale Horticulture Development Project, Small Holder Horticulture Empowerment Programme (SHEP), and Small Holder Horticulture Marketing Project (SHoMaP).

In conclusion, Mr. Malingá highlighted the need for: