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Current Position:Home » News » Agri & Animal Products » Fruits & Vegetables » Topic

Kenyan politicians call for farmers to switch from maize to avocados

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-12-19  Views: 5
Core Tip: For a while now, the call to Kenyan maize farmers to start focusing on other cash crops has taken center stage in most of the forums attended by politicians.
For a while now, the call to Kenyan maize farmers to start focusing on other cash crops has taken center stage in most of the forums attended by politicians. Deputy President William Ruto in particular is challenging maize farmers to take the brave move of opting for avocado farming.

According to the Deputy President, returns on maize in Kenya have been decreasing as years go by. He is giving what he sees as a wake-up call to farmers to diversify farming as the only way of improving their income instead of solely relying on one type of crop for income.

Ruto is urging farmers to embrace the Chinese market opened up for export of local agricultural products following a deal sealed between President Uhuru Kenyatta and China’s Xi Jinping which clears Kenyan agricultural produce like avocado, flowers, and fruits for export to China.

But do the Deputy President’s proposals make sense? Is it worth for large-scale maize farmers from the North Rift and Trans-Nzoia counties to stop planting maize to replace it with Avocado farming?

According to an article on sokodirectory.com, Ruto’s sentiments were not well received by leaders from these regions, known to be Kenya’s main feeding basket. Maize is the main cash crop in the two counties which accounts for 70 percent of household income and towns within these areas come alive when farmers receive maize cash from the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Maize Farming in Kenya is the staple food for more than 80 percent of the population. Its average per capita consumption is 103 kilogram per person. It accounts for 3 percent of Kenya’s GDP. Kenya consumes about 300,000 metric tonnes of maize per month. This is equivalent to roughly 3.3 million 90-kilogram bags.

There is no way maize farmers can be convinced to neglect to farm the crop for avocados which takes 1000 days before they are ready for harvesting, an equivalent of almost 3 years. The reality is that Kenya has an open economy and maize imports find their way in from neighboring countries where the cost of production is lower than Kenya’s.

 
 
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