Kenya’s food import bill surged 58.4% to 80.2 billion Shillings ($574.65 million) in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 50.6 billion Shillings a year earlier, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The country imported a higher volume of commodities such as rice, wheat and processed food, Business Daily newspaper reported.
The value of food imported was nearly 92% of the money earned from food exports, raising fears of the African nation becoming a net food importer.
Spending on food and beverage imports rose 84.4% to 38 billion Shillings in Q1 2023 compared to 20.6 billion Shillings in Q1 2022.
However, the maize imports bill fell to 1.43 billion Shillings between January and March this year compared to 3.53 billion last year. The decline eased pressure on the food import bill.
In March, Kenya signed an agreement for direct investments of $250 million (31 billion Shillings) by UK-based United Green Group to boost food production in the country.
Under the agreement, the group will deliver agri-fintech services for rural communities, high-productivity climate-smart farming and modern agro-industrial facilities over the next five years.
(Editing by Seban Scaria email@example.com)