- The region produces about 4.9 million bags of wheat against an annual consumption of 11 million bags, but land fragmentation has led to declined production.
- The sub-sector is also grappling with post-harvest losses caused by poor storage.
Change of land use in the Rift Valley region has led to a decline in wheat production as farmers continue to sell off their land.
Last season the region produced 4.2 million bags of wheat on 127,825 hectares as farmers located near urban areas sub-divided their land into commercial units.
The region produces about 4.9 million bags of wheat against an annual consumption of 11 million bags, but land fragmentation has led to declined production.
Kenya imports wheat from Egypt and Mauritius under the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) treaty to meet the deficit.
“Land sub-division into uneconomical units, environmental degradation and disease outbreak has contributed to low wheat yields in the region,” said Jackson Ng’eno, an agricultural expert in Uasin Gishu County.
He said most wheat farmers citing poor market prices for their crop find it profitable to build rental houses on their agricultural land.
LAND VALUE UP
An acre of land on the outskirts of Eldoret town goes for about Sh2 million.
Mr Ng’eno cited Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Trans-Nzoia as some of the counties that have seen a decline in wheat production.
“The government needs to introduce minimum land units in agricultural-rich areas to safeguard against the sub-division of land into uneconomical units,” said Jane Jeptoo from Uasin Gishu County.
That a bag of wheat is selling for Sh2,600, down from Sh3,300 last year, is also to blame for the crisis.