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Maize Farming in Kenya

Maize Production in Kenya 

Maize is the staple food in Kenya.  Large as well as small-scale farmers produce the crop and a large percentage of the population depends on Maize farming as an income-generating crop.

Maize Farming in Kenya

Maize is a tall annual crop of the grass family. It grows to a height of between 1.5 m and 3 m. From the stalk grows the conical cob on which the grains are found. The cobs are harvested either by hand or by mechanised harvesters such as in the USA’s extensive farms. The grains from the cobs are consumed or milled for maize flour.

Maize was first cultivated in America by the Indians. It was taken to Europe by Christopher Columbus. It has since spread to many parts of Africa and Asia. In Kenya it was first introduced by the Portugese at the coast in the 15th Century.

Main Maize Farming Areas in Kenya

Since maize is adaptable to a whole range of climate conditions, it is the single most extensively grown crop. However, the chief growing areas are Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Bungoma, and Uasin Gishu counties.

In South Nyanza, other parts of the Rift Valley and Western Province, maize is grown alongside other subsistence crops like beans, potatoes and bananas. Good yields are obtained with use of hybrid seeds supplied by Kenya Seed Company. The Kenya Agricultural Research Station has developed a special kind of hybrid maize called Katumani, which is adapted to the drier conditions and is grown in Machakos, Kitui, Tana River and Isiolo counties.

Conditions Favouring Maize Farming in Kenya

Warm temperatures above 15°C. These are experienced in most parts of the country.

High rainfall of 1,200 mm -2,500 mm. However, maize flourishes under different rainfall regions and at times tolerates rainfall totals between 635 mm to 1,145 mm or even adapt to semi-arid regions with rainfall totals of below 380 mm.

Rich, well drained light loam soil. However, it also tolerates a wide range of soils found in most parts of the country.

Undulatin g landscape. This allows for use of machines. A good example is the topography of Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu Districts which has facilitated large scale maize production.

Maize Farming in Kenya

  1. The land is cleared depending on its original nature.  Ploughing is done. This is influenced by the size of land and tertiary tillages may always be necessary. The crop requires a medium tilth.
  2. Seeds are sown at the onset of rains. This is done manually by dibbling or mechanically by maize planters.
  3. Two seeds are sown in each hole at a depth of 2.5-5 cm in most soils and 10 cm in dry soils.
  4. Fertiliser is applied during planting.
  5. Graping and thinning is done to remove weak seedlings. Nitrogenous fertilisers are added when the  crop is 30-45 cm high immediately after weeding.
  6. The crop is ready for harvesting in 4-12 months depending on the seed variety and the altitude of the place.

    Maize Farming in Kenya

    Maize Farming in Kenya

Maize Production in Kenya 

Maize is harvested in the dry season to avoid incidents of grain rotting in the field. On small farms the maize is left to dry while on the stalks. The cobs are then removed from their husks by hand and taken to the stores.

Maize is periodically dried in the sun until the grains are completely dry. On large farms, the plants are cut and piled in several places in the field in straight heaps. This enables the grains to dry for some period. The cobs are then removed and shelling done usually by machines. The grain is winnowed and packed in sacks.

Maize Processing in Kenya

Bagged maize is transported to the millers. It is weighed and put on trays. It is then sieved to remove any undesired matter, e.g. tiny rock particles and broken cobs. It is then passed through a milling machine which crushes it into flour of various grades.

Maize Marketing in Kenya

Maize in Kenya is mainly sold to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB). The farmers also sell directly to the millers who are located in major towns of Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru and Kitale.

Uses of Maize in Kenya

  1. Maize is a staple food in Kenya. The grains are ground to produce maize flour and it is also consumed as a food grain. It may be consumed fresh, ground, boiled or mixed with other foods.
  2. The stalks, leaves, and other remains from the maize cobs are used to feed domestic animals especially dairy cattle.
  3. The stalks and cobs are used to provide domestic fuel particularly in the rural areas. They are also used as organic manure.
  4. The grains are used in manufacture of com oil and animal feeds hence it is a vital raw material for industrialisation.

Problems Facing Maize Farming in Kenya

  1. High cost of production – Expensive farm inputs e. g. fertilisers which reduce the farmer’s profits.
  2. Unstable prices – Fluctuating prices makes it hard for the famer to plan or at times to even recover their inputs.
  3. Climatic hazards – Prolonged drought or unfavourable weather conditions lead to destruction of the crop leading to low yields and income for the farmer.
  4. Competition – Flooding of the local markets by cheap imports from COMESA countries and heavily subsidised farmers from the European Union or even from genetically modified grains.
  5. Pests and diseases – These attack the crop or even the harvested grains leading to destruction hence loss to the farmers.
  6. Monoculture – Prolonged planting of maize has led to soil exhaustion.
  7. Poor marketing strategies – These has resulted in farmers selling their crop at throw away prices.

Maize Farming in Kenya – Video

Maize Production in Kenya Maize Millers in Kenya

  1. Anchor Flour Millers
  2. Bakex Millers Ltd
  3. Betta Graines
  4. Bingwa Millers & Food Processors
  5. Bonanza Rice Mills Ltd
  6. Capwell Industries Ltd
  7. Chinese Huangpai
  8. Coast Maize Millers Ltd
  9. Commodities Kings Limited
  10. Commodities Kings Ltd
  11. Eastern Flour Mills Ltd
  12. Eastern Flour Mills premises Ltd
  13. Eldoret Grains Ltd
  14. Elika Cereals Store
  15. Elsena Machinery
  16. Flamingo Grain Millers Ltd
  17. General Millers & Packers Ltd
  18. Golden Harvest Mills
  19. Goldys Cereal Store
  20. Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd
  21. Jelly Traders
  22. Joy Millers Limited
  23. Joystar Bargain Traders
  24. Joystar Cereals Commodities
  25. Kabansora Millers Ltd
  26. Kariobangi Flour Mill
  27. Kaycer Enterprises Kenya
  28. Kenya Oatmeal Ltd
  29. Kiaora Traders
  30. Kimende P Vegetax Store
  31. Kimende P Vegetax Store – Head Office Branch
  32. Kirinyaga Flour Mills Ltd
  33. Kitale Industries Ltd
  34. Lake Basin Development Company Rice Mill Complex
  35. Lesiolo Grain Handlers Ltd
  36. Maize Milling Company Ltd
  37. Maize Milling Company Ltd Lunga Lunga Rd
  38. Maizena Millers Ltd
  39. Mama Millers Limited
  40. Masii Maize Millers Ltd
  41. McNeel Millers Ltd
  42. Milling Corporation of Kenya 2009 Ltd
  43. Milling Corporation Of Kenya Ltd
  44. Milly Grain Millers Ltd
  45. Mombasa Maize Millers (KSM) Ltd
  46. Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd
  47. Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd Airport North Rd
  48. Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd Farmers St
  49. Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd Runyenjes Rd
  50. Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd Timber Mill Rd
  51. Mshondi Milleer
  52. Mugumo Millers Ltd
  53. Muki Maize Millers
  54. Nairobi Flour Mills Ltd
  55. Nanyuki Grain Millers
  56. National Cereals & Produce Board
  57. National Cereals & Produce Board – Head Office Branch
  58. National Unga Industries
  59. Nice Rice Millers
  60. Nyanuguti Highway Posho Mill
  61. Osho Grain Millers Ltd
  62. Pointex (K) Ltd
  63. Prosoya (K) Ltd
  64. Rupa Mills Ltd
  65. Sansora Group Ltd
  66. Sounds of Africa Ltd
  67. Supaflo Flour Mills Ltd
  68. Swan Centre Ltd
  69. TSS Grain Millers Ltd
  70. Twajenga Holdings Co. Ltd
  71. Uchumi Grain Millers EA Ltd
  72. Velji Hirji & Co

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