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Farmers sell maize at throw-away prices after bumper harvest

By Joseph Muchiri | Published Wed, August 22nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 21st 2018 at 23:15 GMT +3
Maize ready for harvesting at a farm in Mukinduri area of Kirinyaga Central sub-county. [Joseph Muchiri/Standard]

Maize farmers in Embu and Kirinyaga counties have complained of poor prices as a result of glut.

Owing to heavy rainfall, from March to June, maize, beans, green grams and cowpeas thrived.

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The farmers, who are currently harvesting maize, having harvested the other crops earlier, appealed to the national government to buy their produce. They said these can be stocked at the National Cereals and Produce Board depots as part of strategic grain reserves.

In many parts of Embu, a two kilogramme tin of maize is selling at Sh30, down from Sh60. The same quantity of green grams is selling at Sh100, down from Sh250, and cowpeas at Sh50 down from Sh200. In some parts of Kirinyaga, a two kilogramme tin of maize is going for as low as Sh20.

“Many farmers are financially strained and cannot store their maize and wait for the prices to improve,” said Rose Mutugi, a farmer from Kerugoya.

In Embu, a cereals farmer and community leader Njagi Kumantha said farmers in the semi-arid region of Mbeere, who had recorded low harvests in previous years due to erratic rainfall, would be worst hit.

“We have a cereals depot in Majimbo and another one in Ishiara, which are stocked with maize from Rift Valley region. We want the Embu government to liaise with the national government and buy maize from local farmers at a minimum price of Sh60 per two kilogramme tin,” said Mr Kumantha.

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He called on the Council of Governors to engage the Ministry of Agriculture so that counties can have a role in running local cereals depots.


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