Farmers from Trans Nzoia push reduction of maize seed prices

Maize plantation in Uasin Gishu County on May,31,2023. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Farmers want the government to lower the price of seed maize before the next planting season.

The farmers argue that current prices of seed maize are high and unfavourable to them.

The seed maize retails at Sh5,250 for 25 kg, Sh2,000 for 10kg and Sh420 for 2 kg. A farmer requires about 12 kg to plant one acre.

“The cost of seed maize is high, and we are petitioning the government to bring it down and make it affordable,” said Tom Nyagechaga.

The farmers insist that the price of seed maize should be low since it is produced locally compared to fertilizer which is imported.

“We're asking the president Dr William Ruto to honour his promise to reduce the prices of seed maize. The prices should be dropped to at least Sh4,500 for 25 kg,” said Nyagechaga, who the Kenya National Federation of Farmers Kenaff commodity representative.

Fredrick Rono, a farmer in Kibomet said the cost of seed maize is one of the challenges facing farmers.

“We welcome the subsidized fertilizers by the government, but another obstacle to our farming activities is the high cost of seed maize. It should be brought down to boost production,” said Rono.

But Kenya Seed Company (KSC) argued that current price is not high compared to prices offered by other seed companies.

Sammy Chepsiror, KSC Managing Director, however, said the company is negotiating with the government to look into ways to make seed affordable to farmers.

“The price review of the seed maize has gone downward in the past eight years. We have never increased our prices,” Chepsiror told the Standard.

He said the prices offered by the company is good compared to other seed companies in the country.

“Our prices are not as high as farmers claim. We are offering good prices compared to other companies,” he said.

He added, “The board is discussing with the government to come up a strategy to reduce the prices and make it affordable to farmers.”

At the same time, farmers expressed optimistic that the government will fix the buying price for maize at Sh6,000 a bag.

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mithika Linturi on Wednesday promised that the government will announce the new buying price for maize next week.

Farmers agitated for better prices, saying the cost of production is unaffordable.