Farmers lament at high cost of inputs

Maize farmers want the Government to make seeds and fertiliser more affordable to bring down food production costs.

Farmers told a taskforce formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to address challenges in the sector that the high cost of inputs had made maize production an expensive venture.

The taskforce, which was chaired by Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba, held a session with farmers at Kitale Museum. National Food Strategic Reserve board chairman Noah Wekesa also attended the meeting.

Hundreds of farmers who turned up to air their views urged the Government to allocate more funds towards subsidy programmes to boost the country’s food security and also empower producers.

SEE ALSO :Maize and sugar farmers to wait longer for report

"Maize production is becoming uneconomical because of the high cost of inputs. We want the Government to help bring down prices to make farming affordable," said David Sitienei, a local farmer.

The farmers also said they were not satisfied with the new price of Sh2,500 for a 90kg bag of maize announced by President Kenyatta last week.

"The Government should start buying our maize as soon as possible. We will need money to prepare our farms for the planting season," said Tom Nyagechaga.

The farmers, at the same time, expressed fears that cheap maize would flood into the market from neighbouring countries following delays in opening the National Cereals and Produce Board depots.

"Already, some cheap maize has been shipped into the country from Uganda and more is being imported. We will not have a market for our maize," said Mr Nyagechaga.

SEE ALSO :Maize prices shoot in Rift as demand rises

Mr Khaemba called for harmonisation of taxes on pesticides and farm equipment to cushion farmers from high production cost.

He told farmers to embrace conservation agriculture to improve yields and mitigate climate change.

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