Maize farmers in North Rift with the support of the Government plan to construct a Sh1 billion maize milling plant.
The farmers have already formed North Rift Cereals and Millers and Cooperative Union Ltd and the purchase of shares has already kicked off.
Trans-Nzoia District Cooperative Officer John Mudenyo made the revelation during celebrations to mark Cooperatives Day at Kenyatta Stadium. Local County Commissioner Charity Chepkong’a was present.
He urged individual farmers and cooperative societies to purchase shares in the union to support the project that is expected to boost production and income.
“For many years you farmers have complained of exploitation by middlemen. Take this opportunity seriously by purchasing shares,” he said, and showed the gathering the union’s registration certificate.
Mudenyo said establishment of the milling plant was a milestone to the farming community, as it would add value to their maize business. He explained that the Government was undertaking the milling plant project and urged the farmers to support it through membership contribution.
“The Government will step in and help farmers secure a loan to put up the milling plant. Let us grab the opportunity and buy shares and ensure the construction by the end of the year,” he urged.
Mudenyo said the plant would help farmers produce maize flour and manufacture animal feeds besides other products. Registration is Sh2,000 and share holding for individual farmers would be between Sh20,000 and Sh25,000 and Sh10,000 and Sh50,000 for societies.
The Government wants to ensure farmers reap from the maize business and lock out middlemen to stop exploitation. “Middlemen have for years made profits from farmer engagement. The factory would help farmers produce and pack maize flour and animal feeds and also market products,” he said.
Huge consignments purchased from Trans-Nzoia are transported to millers in Nairobi, Mombasa and Tanzania. Construction of the plant is expected to help farmers benefit from competitive maize prices and reap better income.