NAIROBI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday announced a raft of measures aimed at improving food security as well as curbing importation of maize in the country.
Kenyatta ordered for clearance of payment for maize supply to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), the country's strategic grain reserve, by Friday.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, the president directed NCPB to set selling prices by farmers for 90 kg bags at minimum 2,500 shillings (about 23 U.S. dollars).
"To ensure that our farmers are able to dry and sell their maize with minimal post-harvest losses, I do direct that maize drying charges at the National Cereals and Produce Board be reviewed downward by 50 percent, from the current 40 shillings per unit to 20 shillings per unit," he said.
Kenyatta said that the national government will also avail maize driers to all maize growing areas by the coming season.
He said these driers will be managed by groups of farmers/cooperatives at community level to ensure that farmers are able to store or sell their maize at the appropriate moisture content and thus contribute to enhance farmers' income.
The president urged millers to ensure that they prioritize mapping and mopping up all the maize that is available locally, noting that there will be no maize imports from outside the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)/East Africa Community (EAC) regions.
"The above interventions will therefore mean that the Country will have sufficient maize and therefore there will be no maize imports from outside the COMESA/EAC region," said Kenyatta.
Kenyatta said the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to agricultural-based livelihoods and food security in Kenya but noted that various mitigation measures were undertaken by all relevant stakeholders and therefore availability, access and affordability were attained.
Meanwhile, Kenyatta has directed the National Treasury to continue implementing measures that had been set aside to support small businesses and innovators, to cushion them against the impact of the ongoing COVID pandemic.
"To protect low-income earners, I am asking the National Treasury to maintain the 100 percent tax relief of those earning 24,000 shillings and less for the rest of the year," Kenyatta directed on Monday evening.
He also asked the treasury to continue maintaining the reduction of the current turn-over-tax from 3 percent to 1 percent to help cushion small enterprises. Enditem