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Wheat import order irks farmers

By Silah Koskei | Published Thu, August 2nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 1st 2018 at 22:27 GMT +3
A wheat farm in Moiben, Uasin Gishu County. [Kevin Tunoi/Standard]

Cereals producers in the Rift Valley have protested the East African Community (EAC) protocol that allows millers to import wheat at a subsidised rate.

They termed the move impractical considering that local farmers are about to harvest their crop.

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"It is saddening to note that the Government is not interested in protecting farmers. The gazette notice will automatically make it impossible for most of us to secure a favourable market as most regions are about to begin harvesting," said Thomas Gorgoren, a wheat farmer in Uasin Gishu.

He said instead of subsidising the cost of imports, the Government should focus more on empowering local producers.

Biggest beneficiary

According to the notice published on July 13 this year, manufacturers have been given the green light to import wheat at a duty rate of 10 per cent under a remission scheme for a period of 12 months.

The notice signed by Dr Al Haji Kirunda Kivenjija, EAC chairperson of the council of ministers, will see Mombasa Maize Millers become the biggest beneficiary under the provision, it will be allowed to import 312,000 metric tonnes of bran and pollard wheat.

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Grain Industries Ltd, on the other hand, is expected to import 280,000 metric tonnes of the same.

Richard Busienei, another farmer, said there is a need to bridge the gap between local production and imports so as to encourage more farmers to venture into the sector.

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