Kenyan farmers more often than not find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. When it is not the vagaries of nature making them toil for nothing on their farms, it is government policies and lethargy pulling them down.
Due to repeated failed rains in the last three years, yield on Kenyan farms has been poor. This has led to a situation where the country’s food security is threatened.
Only last year, the government had to import maize and subsidise the price of maize flour. Yet it is important to note that some farmers in bread basket region of the Rift Valley refused to sell their grain to the National Cereals and Produce Board because of the poor prices that were on offer.
Sadly, the few who chose to sell to the cereals board at prices that gave no return on investment, made worse by army worm invasions in parts of the country last year, are crying foul because the government has not paid them.
Food security can only be guaranteed when the government invests more in agriculture. Over reliance on rain fed agricultural mode of production is partly to blame for our predicament. The need to invest in irrigation schemes cannot be gainsaid.
Subsidies on seed and fertiliser, prompt payment to farmers and other form of incentives would go a long way in boosting production. Kenya is a rich agricultural country whose potential needs to be fully tapped.