Farmers want State to revise maize prices

NEWS |

Maize farmers in Trans Nzoia County want the government to set the producer price at Sh3,600 per 90kg bag.

The farmers said the move would cushion them against losses owing to the high costs of inputs.

Led by John Njuguna, a large scale maize farmer in Cherang’any sub-county, the farmers said Sh1,305 per 50 kg bag announced by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) recently is too low considering the production costs.

Njuguna said the current price of a 50 kg bag of planting fertilizer had hit over Sh5,200, and costs of other inputs were also skyrocketing.

According to Njuguna, farmers will not be able to produce maize in the next season if producer prices remain low.

“The government should buy maize at not less than Sh3,600 per bag since anything lower would be depriving farmers of benefits they ought to get from their ventures,” he said

He noted that production tremendously declined in the current farming season.

Strategic reserves

The farmer said an acre of land produced an average of 10 bags in most farms, and buying the maize at a cheaper would only kill the morale of farmers.

Njuguna further urged the government to prohibit the importation of cheap maize from neighbouring countries and buy it for strategic reserves even as he predicted food shortage in future due to poor production in the current season.

Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi, a committee member in agriculture, said farmers are depressed, and most of them are considering quitting the venture.

According to Wanyonyi, the poor maize prices spell doom to the future of its production and that it would be disastrous for the country if more farmers opt-out of the venture.

“We need to safeguard the interest of farmers so that they can not only produce but rather do it in surplus, and that is why as a committee, we will be explaining this to the exchequer to review the prices upwards,” Mr Wanyonyi told The Standard.

The NCPB, through its Corporate Affairs Manager Titus Maiyo, said the prices were dictated by the prevailing market costs.

“The prices offered by the board at the moment are based on its commercial function and not for strategic reserves... When the government decides to buy maize for the National Food reserves, it will give the price for that with attached conditions,” he said earlier.

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