By Barbara Nyende
28 March, 2014 – Kenya is facing a looming maize shortage owing to the poor performance of the short rains between October and December 2013. The available maize stock in the country is expected to last only through June, 2014.
“The projected maize availability at the end of March 2014 will be close to 2.0 million metric tonnes. Slightly more than half of the available maize by March 2014 is projected to have been consumed by end of March 2014 leaving less than one million for consumption from April onwards,” according to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG).
Considering a constant consumption, the available maize stocks will last the country through to June, the report points out.
The poor food production levels are attributed to the delay in the October to December short rains with Turkana and Marsabit being the worst hit counties in Kenya.
This means that the country will most likely have to import maize between June and August to fill the deficit.
The October to December Short Rain Assessments report released recently further points out conflicts and gradual increase in market dependency as responsible for the current status of food security in Kenya.
According to the report, the October-December short rains delayed till mid –November with coastal regions receiving less 80% per cent of normal amounts of rainfall.
The general rainfall distribution in the country was uneven with a lot of rain received within a short period of time during the short rains season.
The total national maize stocks stands at 800,000 metric tonnes as at March 2014 including 150,000 metric tonnes imported from the neighbouring East African countries.
Kenya’s heavily relies on rain-fed agriculture for its food production