Zambia has no maize to sell to Kenya this season as it is also facing a severe crop shortage according to the Minister of Finance Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, contradicting the Kenyan Minister of Agriculture Mithika Linturi who said that the maize came from Zambia.
Mithika Linturi, who visited Zambia, came back and said Kenya is hiring Zambian farmers to grow maize for the Kenyan market only as the government tries to reduce the cost of the staple food, the first shipment under the agreement is expected in August.
But it appears that there was no such agreement if the Zambian minister’s sentiments are to be believed. “I think we all know there has been a shortage of maize, especially in the border areas near Tanzania, Congo and Malawi. In the fastest response, the government has decided to allow us to import goods to increase whatever we have so that the shortage is reduced,” said Dr Musokotwane.
The Kenyan government has made conflicting statements about the food security situation in the country. Millers have raised concerns over the severe and ongoing shortage of maize which is driving up the price of maize meal.
At one point, the Ministry of Agriculture gave Kenyan farmers who were storing maize at least 7 days to sell their maize or risk loss after “free maize landing”. But duty-free corn remained in the media and rhetoric.
Kenyans are still paying high prices for a 2kg packet of maize flour despite the government’s promises that it was working to reduce the price. President William Ruto had promised to reduce the price of a 2 kg packet of maize flour to 100 shillings within 100 days after taking office.