“The highest yield in the history of maize growing in Kenya was in 2015 when we harvested 42.5 million bags of maize ….,” Deputy President William Ruto in Webuye on May 14.
The Deputy President conflated yield, which refers to the maize harvested per unit area of land cultivated, and production, which is the amount of maize harvested. Both are important measures of output.
Kenya did produce 42.5 million bags of maize in 2015 and according to a Nation Newsplex review of cereal production data going back to 1960, it remains a record harvest.
The second highest harvest was 41.9 million bags in 2012 and the third highest was 40.7 million bags in 2013 while the fourth highest production was 39 million bags in 2014.
But last year’s maize production declined by 13 per cent to 37.1 million bags. It was the fifth highest harvest, according to the data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). The drop in production was blamed on insufficient rains during the short rains period in 2016.
Despite the significant drop in maize production and warnings of impending drought, Kenya exported 3,191 tonnes of the grain or 35,456 bags, which was almost a two-thirds increase from the 2015 exports when maize production peaked.