Kenya stands to lose maize worth Sh32 billion this year due to post-harvest losses at a time when the country is reeling under the pressure of food shortages.
The announcement was made on Tuesday when Kenya joined other nations to mark the World Food Day, in a year that the country had been rocked by maize flour prices before the Government introduced the Sh6 billion subsidy programme.
Researchers at Tegemeo Institute of Agriculture and Research said the loss is attributed to poor coordination and inadequate communication between State departments of agriculture at the county level.
“Post-harvest losses and input market distortions are key issues that need to be addressed if the country is to reduce the risks to food security significantly,”said Dr Dennis Otieno, a research fellow at the institute.
Otieno said planning for food security requires good data. “We have been relying on estimates to a great extent, especially for areas under production and stocks held by farmers. This trend needs to change so that decisions made by the government are based on accurate estimates of the total area under crops” he said.
The Government is planning to carry out a nationwide agriculture census in the next two years, to update its performance since the last similar exercise carried out in 1969. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, post-harvest losses arising from maize production account for 12 per cent of the total output.