Maize is the most important staple crop in Kenya and is grown in both the low and high altitude agricultural zones. Despite the fore mentioned status that maize has earned in Kenya, there still exists numerous opportunities for development stakeholders and investors to venture in maize production, marketing and processing.
Farm Concern International conducted a Validation Value Chain Assessment survey under the USAID Feed the Future: Kenya Agricultural Value Chain Enterprises, KAVES Project to supplement and validate data already available from Government agencies and other studies. The survey was carried out in consultation with other County partners including development agencies, government institutions, private sector partners and producers at county levels to substantiate existing data and further inform the project implementation.
The areas of focus for maize Validation Assessment included Bungoma, Homa Bay, Kisii, Uasin Gishu, Meru and Makueni Counties.
The assessment study revealed that there exists enormous opportunities in maize production including intensification and improvement of crop productivity, improving post-harvest management, processing and value addition, smallholder commercialization and market development and high demand of maize for domestic consumption.
The study also highlighted a number of strengths in maize production and marketing comprising availability of subsidized inputs such as fertilizers, availability of certified seeds, mechanization of maize farming, availability of fertile and productive land, favorable climatic conditions, availability of markets, acceptance of maize as food by locals, introduction of drought resistant varieties, high production with reliable rains, food security crop and value chain with many brokers.
However, there are a number of challenges in maize production including low production per acre, weak market institutions and high marketing costs leading to low producer prices and high consumer prices.
This is a clear indication of the need for partners in the value chain to ride on these available opportunities and strengths to advance maize production, marketing and processing in Kenya.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond