Despite concerns raised by industry players over the move by Kenya’s ministry of Agriculture to grow maize in Zambia, Agriculture CS, Mithika Linturi has formally made known his ministry’s intention to continue with the plan to secure 20,000 hectares of land for large-scale growing of maize in the Southern Africa nation.
Responding to these developments, Greenpeace Africa’s Communication Manager, Hellen Dena has said:
“While we acknowledge the government’s efforts to bring down the cost of food and rescue its population from hunger, we are perturbed by the decision by the Ministry of Agriculture to lease land in Zambia to grow maize when Kenya has 5,800,000 hectares of arable land.
“Maize is and has been Kenya’s staple food for decades, a country that is not able to grow its own staple food exposes itself to all kinds of social and economic vulnerability. Production of maize locally means that many other local businesses benefit in the process.
“President Ruto talked big on the bottom up approach and supporting smallholder farmers to produce more; sourcing maize from Zambia is a deviation by the ministry of Agriculture on the president’s commitment. We have enough land in Kenya to grow maize; our farmers are more than capable of doing it here. All they need is support from the Ministry of Agriculture and a conducive partnership between government, farmers and other key players in the sector.
“Instead of looking somewhere else for solutions to Kenya’s perennial food insecurity, Hon. Mithika Linturi should be finding ways to bring the cost of production down by subsidizing the cost of inputs and supporting farmers to use sustainable forms of agriculture that ensure healthy food at a lower cost.”