Maize is central to household food security for most Kenyans. As a result, policies that affect maize directly influence most Kenyan families’ access to food. Moreover, ‘maize politics’ is played out at the highest levels of government and involves some of the most influential public-sector and private-sector actors in the country.Repeatedly, the STEPS Kenya team heard from key informants interviewed for this project that maize is the ‘most sensitive political issue in the country’.
Furthermore, from the national policy level to the individual household level, maize security has come to be equated with food security. They are seen as one and the same. Without maize, many Kenyans believe they do not have ‘food’. Consequently, concerns about maize production and access drive national food and agricultural policy, leading to a virtual ‘lock-in’ of maize as the dominant pathway to food security.