International Agriculture News

Kenya plans to revamp maize, sugar subsectors

NAIROBI : Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture on Friday announced plans to revamp maize and sugar sub sectors to ensure that farmers get their maximum profit.Mwangi Kiunjuri, cabinet secretary ministry for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and irrigation, said that the taskforce that was set up to identify the challenges in the sector is aimed at finding lasting solution in the sub sectors. “We are purely going to rely on the views of the farmers in our plans to revamp the sub sector that used to perform well but has nosedived due to man made problems,” Kiunjuri told journalists. He said that under the new arrangement, farmers will be required to play a major role in the management of the two sectors.

He revealed that the long awaited national maize task force report will officially be unveiled late next week. “Farmers’ concerns, including governance, will be addressed to enable the sub sector contribute to the country’s national GDP as well as create employment opportunities to the job seekers, ” Kiunjuri said.

He said that the taskforce on maize sub sector has completed its public hearings and are currently validating their findings before coming up with the final report.

Kiunjuri said the ministry is awaiting a supplementary budget to get approval from parliament to pay farmers a total of 2.9 million shillings (about 29,000 U.S. dollars).

The Kenyan official however cautioned sugarcane farmers to beware of cartels that are out to ruin the sub sector.

He observed that it is unfortunate that globally sugar industries are performing but in Kenya the five state-owned sugar mills continue to perform poorly even after bailouts by the government. Yet, the six privately owned millers perform so well.

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Kiunjuri noted that the government is also realigning the fertilizer industry with the aim of improving food production in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta formed the taskforce on maize to address the problems in the sector and find lasting solution in late October 2018.

This followed protests by maize farmers whose payments were delayed by National Cereals and Produce Board despite delivering the commodity.

Kiunjuri also formed taskforce on sugar sub-sector in late November 2018 to address the challenge of the non performance of the industry.

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