Investing in agricultural storage capacity is a crucial means of managing price volatility. In several African countries that have suffered prolonged droughts in recent years, it is also an opportunity to improve food security.
In Kenya, the government plans to spend around 79.6 billion shillings ($596 million) to establish new strategic food reserves. The announcement was made on April 6 by Mithika Linturi, Minister of Agriculture.
According to local newspaper Business Daily Africa, the old reserves had been depleted since 2019 and had been withdrawn by the government of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, partly due to persistent droughts that affected agricultural production and caused an increase in hunger.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) estimates that more than 4.35 million people are currently suffering from severe food insecurity in the country as a result of the weather phenomenon.
According to Linturi, the new reserves that will be replenished are expected to contain at least 90,000 tons of food, which is equivalent to at least three months of corn consumption.
It is worth noting that on March 15, the Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly asked the Budget and Appropriations Committee for Sh10 billion ($7.5 million) to start purchasing food for the strategic reserves.
"It is important that the country has food reserves to protect itself from food shortages, have a market for the main basic foodstuffs and act as a price stabilizer," the commission stated.