Kenya Left With Less Than a Day's Worth of Corn After Drought
Kenya’s reserves of corn dropped to less than a day’s worth of consumption after stocks of the staple grain were released to millers, the National Cereals and Produce Board said.
The reserve currently stands at 50,000 90-kilogram bags, equivalent to 4,500 metric tons, NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer said by phone Tuesday from the capital, Nairobi. The board released about 36,000 tons to millers last week, he said.
The NCPB is awaiting information from the Agriculture Ministry about how the reserve will be restocked, Terer said, declining to comment further. Agriculture Secretary Willy Bett on Tuesday canceled a second briefing in as many days that had been scheduled to discuss food security in the East African nation.
Kenya had insufficient rain in crop-growing areas in March and April, the Kenya Meteorological Department said Monday in a preliminary assessment of the March-May so-called long rains. Most weather stations reported receiving less than 75 percent of their seasonal long-term average, it said.
“The depressed rainfall over most agricultural areas in the country has resulted in poor crop performance and even crop failure in some regions,” it said.
Kenya consumes about 288,000 tons of corn per month, according to the Cereal Millers Association, an industry body. Of that amount, about 135,000 tons is packaged and sold by millers, CMA Chairman Nick Hutchinson said in an interview on Tuesday.
Agriculture Ministry Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe didn’t answer his mobile phone when Bloomberg called him seeking comment.