Rice farmers in Mt Kenya and their counterparts growing maize in the Rift Valley are not amused by the Ministry of Agriculture’s public notice on a massive importation of duty-free maize and milled rice.
The farmers are afraid their they are staring at huge losses in their farms given the high cost of production as well as a flooded market if the importation proceeds as planned.
Kilimo House has issued a notice to allow for the importation of a total of 900,000 metric tonnes of white maize grain and 600, 000 metric tonnes of milled rice from February 2023 to August 2023. This, the government says will enable the country to have adequate stocks to last until the next harvest.
Despite President Ruto saying the government had heeded the cries of maize farmers and suspended the planned importation of maize which had caused outrage across the country, the ministry is going ahead to bring in the maize.
The maize and rice should be imported into the country by 6th August 2023.
Last year, leaders from rice-growing counties in Mt Kenya protested the government’s move to import rice while Kenyan farmers had enough rice for the country.
Apart from the 400, 000 tonnes they had in their stores last year, Mwea rice farmers are hoping to harvest over 600, 000 tonnes more this month and by the close of the season, the farmers say they will have close to 1 million tonnes.