Farmers contemplate abandoning maize as DP Ruto insists on diversification
SEE ALSO :On leadership, women should change tactThey warned that the recent implementation of the eight percent VAT on petroleum products will aggrevate the situation. Ruth Kemboi, the Uasin Gishu Kenya National Farmers Federation (Kneff) acting chair, North Rift Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) Director Kipkorir Menjo and large scale farmer Kimutai Kolum told Saturday Standard in Eldoret that farmers are not happy with the manner the crisis in the maize sub-sector is being addressed. “We are dumbfounded. We have no answers or solutions for the woes afflicting the maize sector in the country. The issue has adversely affected the economic standing of farmers,” Mrs Kemboi said. She said farmers have less to celebrate this festive season. No cheer
SEE ALSO :We must save Kenyan maize farmers“It has been the norm for majority farmers to shop and reward their family members every harvest time. “This will not be the case this year due to delays in paying farmers’ supplies and also poor producer prices endorsed by the Cabinet,” she said. As the farmers cried foul in Eldoret, Deputy President William Ruto reiterated that maize farmers ought to look at other options. Speaking at the ongoing Nakuru International Investment Conference (NIICO, 2018) in Naivasha, Ruto told off politicians opposed to his diversification narrative, saying it is the way to go if the country is to increase its exports from the current nine per cent to 15. “Diversification is key in the government’s national export development and promotion strategy. “People in other parts of the world are busy producing for export market. Here, we want to store maize,” he said in reference to attacks targeted at him by a section of Rift Valley leaders.
SEE ALSO :Great rift over maize, avocadosRuto said there is a huge potential in food production, saying the government wants to increase potato production fivefold and also raise production of rice by 300 per cent. The DP has been under attack in recent weeks over the maize crisis that has seen farmers fail to get decent returns from their produce. But addressing the conference Friday, Ruto asked farmers to take advantage of the Kenya-China trade deal allowing agriculture produce in the Chinese market. “The truth is that we must continue farming but in a way that we can generate gainful income,” he said. But in the grain basket of the North Rift, farmers are looking at next year’s planting season with skepticism. [email protected]