NAIROBI, KENYA — Kenya’s wheat and corn production is expected to increase in 2023-24 as farmers respond to high crop prices by planting more, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Corn production is estimated at 3.2 million tonnes, up from the new estimate of 2.9 million tonnes in 2022-23. Consumption is expected to recover to 3.9 million tonnes due to increased local supply.

Corn is the main staple food and a key ingredient in feed manufacturing. Consumers increasingly are diversifying to other food such as potatoes, rice and bananas due to rising corn prices, the USDA said.

Feed and residual consumption is expected to remain at 200,000 tonnes as corn prices likely will remain high.

Wheat production in 2023-24 is estimated to increase to 310,000 tonnes mostly because of increases in harvested area. New farmers are leading land and planting wheat to take advantage of high prices, the USDA said.

Consumption is expected to remain low despite an expansion of restaurants and bakeries. High prices, due to continued disruptions in global supply chains and Kenya’s worsening exchange rate, has negatively impacted wheat consumption.

Rice production also is expected to increase to 130,000 tonnes due to an expansion in planted area following the commissioning of the Thiba Dam in October 2022.

The dam will increase water available for rice cultivation in the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Kenya’s primary rice growing area.

Available water will be increased gradually over time, leading to increases in area harvested in 2022-23 and 2023-24. A second cropping may be gradually introduced, leading to increased production, the USDA said.