Kenya To Import Maize To Ease Shortage
NAIROBI May 18 (Xinhua) - Kenya plans to import 50,000 metric tons of maize from Ethiopia to ease the ongoing shortage of the staple food, a government official said on Thursday.
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Principal Secretary Dr Richard Lesiyampe told a media briefing in Nairobi that the maize shipment will arrive at Moyale town on the Kenya-Ethiopia border on Saturday.
"The maize is part of the government subsidy program to provide cheap maize to consumers," Lesiyampe said after meeting with Kenya's small grain millers.
He noted that the government will also import maize from Zambia in the next few weeks.
Kenya introduced the subsidize program early this week to sell a two kilogram packet of maize at 0.90 U.S. dollars that was previously selling at 1.80 dollars.
Under the program, Kenya will buy the maize at 36 dollars per 90 kg and sell it to millers at 23 dollars.
Kenya has set aside 60 million dollars to finance the program.
On April 13, Kenya waived import duty on maize to encourage importers to bridge the production deficit so as to put downward pressure on the price of the staple food.
Lesiyampe said that small millers supply 60 percent of all the maize flour sold in the country.
"So we have to include the small millers for the subsidy program to be successful," he added.
The PS said that as from Friday, the government cereals body will provide 200,000 bags of subsidized maize to the small millers.
"We will even provide logistics support to the millers in order to reduce their operations costs so that they forward the benefits to consumers," he added.
According to the agriculture ministry, the subsidy program will continue until October when Kenyan farmers will have harvested their maize crop.