Kenya faces maize shortfall after 10-per-cent drop in production

Business Materials 24 April 2008 23:15 (UTC +04:00)

Kenya faces a shortfall in maize production this year after rising prices for fertilizer forced many farmers to reduce the size of their cultivated land or avoid using fertilizers altogether, a government official said Thursday, the dpa reported.

Since the start of 2008, 35 million fewer sacks of maize had been produced than in the previous year, a decrease of 10 per cent, a spokesman for the Kenyan Agriculture Ministry told journalists in Nairobi.

The next harvest would be improved by an emergency programme, the spokesman said.

The government would support farmers with cheaper fertilizer and seeds, said Doctor Romano Kiome, permanent secretary in the Kenyan Agriculture Ministry.

The ministry has said there will be a crisis "of dramatic proportions" from July when supplies would run out.

If the emergency programme doesn't work, Kenya plans to import maize from neighbouring Tanzania.