Kenya has cut the output forecast of its main wheat crop season by more than a third due to late planting and delayed buying of fertiliser, the Agriculture ministry said. East Africa’s biggest economy imports about two-thirds of its wheat needs, but traders said they do not expect huge jumps in prices despite the projected drop in output, saying yields would be good from the main growing areas.
Some traders however remained wary of the rising global prices of cereals, triggered by adverse weather in the world’s largest wheat producer, United States. “The country is a net importer of wheat and the changes in the global front may reflect locally at one point in terms of pricing. The US and Russia are having challenges with production and that could drive up prices,” said George Kimani, a cereals trader in Nairobi.
Kenya mainly imports wheat from Egypt and Mauritius through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc. It consumes about 900,000 tonnes of wheat per year and produces 350,000 tonnes. Officials expect farmers to produce 3.68 million 90-kg bags of wheat this year, 37 percent lower than an earlier forecast of 5.8 million bags the government had forecast in March.