The Kenyan Government’s plans to replace Kenya grown foods with foreign foods, is not fair to Kenya farmers and to the entire Nation. In a statement released by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndungu, and a gazette notice dated December 23, 2022, the government intends to import 900,000 metric tons of maize grain, 600,000 metric tons of milled rice and 100,000 metric tons of sugar.
The Kenyan farmers in Rift Valley and in Western Kenya, have expressed their concerns over the Kenya Government reluctance, to buy their maize. The rice farmers in Kirinyaga have complained about the Government’s reluctance to buy their rice. The maize farmers have openly confirmed that they have a lot of maize in their stores for sale. The rice farmers have over 400,000 tons of rice in store for sale and the Mumias Sugar factory is milling over 2000 tons of sugar daily, also for sale.
Why would the Kenya Government plan to buy foods outside Kenya, probably at a higher prize, than the Kenyan foods already in farmers stores? What is the prize of one bag of maize, one bag of rice and one ton of sugar, including transport when imported from abroad vs the prize of one bag of maize, one bag is rice and one ton of sugar when bought from the Kenya farmers? Kenya, whose leaders are notorious in looting public funds, are creating a lot of suspicion and fear, by planning to import foods which are already available in the country, sending new signals, of an intention of introducing a similar situation, to the one which necessitated relentless controversy over maize importation in 2009.
Kenya Parliament should introduce a debate in the house, to establish and compare the prices if bought locally from the Kenyan farmers instead of importing. They must do that so as to avoid suspicion, of corruption surrounding the purchase of those foods from abroad, like it happened in 2009.
Further consideration into buying foods from Kenyan farmers is necessary, to promote the idea of eventual self-sufficiency in food security in the country in the future, because Kenya farmers- will be motivated to do more farming of food crops.
Dr. Isaac Newton Kinity
Counselor and Human Rights Activist &
Former Secretary General
Kenya Civil Servants Union.