Maize Farming Land Acquired in Zambia by Kenya

Kenyan Agriculture Principal Secretary Kello Harsama and Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi have opted for consideration of a deal to have maize farmers plant maize in Zambia. This comes after an MoU was signed by the CS Linturi securing 20,000 hectares of land in Zambia’s large-scale growing of maize in the Central African nation.

The leaders emphasized that the climate change impacts and prolonged droughts have severely affected the possibility of food growth in Kenya currently. The acquired land is set aside for Kenyan farmers who will grow the crops which will be exported to Kenya after harvest.

This move comes in handy considering a probable maize shortage looming in the country as the price of maize flour may steadily increase from between Sh170-Sh200 per two-kilo packet last week to Sh180-Sh220. Even though criticism has risen from farmers within the country about the move.

Millers have warned that a delay in maize imports could lead to an increase in the price of maize flour in the country. They said the current maize shortage in the country could lead to a price increase in maize flour. Ken Nyaga, United Grain Millers Association chairman said a 90kg bag of maize has gone up to Sh6,000 from between Sh4,700 and Sh5,300 in February.

“We are really hit hard by drought and we have to think outside the box,” PS Harsama said. Urging that this move will assist deal with the food insecurity situation in the country as Kenyan farmers are set to get permits for growing maize in Zambia with the aim of feeding Kenyans.

CS Linturi emphasized that its the government’s agenda to ensure that the modality being worked on will ensure food is affordable to the common citizen. “The government will do everything possible to bring down the cost of food by adopting creative measures like such collaborations. I am happy that the government of Zambia is willing to offer Kenyan farmers farm blocks where they can produce food for export markets,” Linturi said.

His Zambian counterpart Reuben Mtolo said Zambia’s weather patterns are favorable for food production which will benefit Kenya’s desire to achieve food security.
“We have agreed to allow Kenyan farmers to start large-scale farming in Zambia and export their harvests to Kenya. We have one of the best farms and weather in Zambia which is favorable for farming and it will be beneficial to Kenyans,” Mtolo said.

According to PS and CS agriculture, there is a maize shortage globally and local importers are going as far as Mozambique, Zambia, and South Africa. The CS assured that soon there will be sufficiency in the country which will help reduce the cost of unga. The importers in Kenya have been struggling to access maize in the global market due to the scarcity of the commodity.

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