Farmers support 'rebel' Jubilee MPs in maize sale furore

Peter Lopeyok,a 36-year-old maize farmer from Barina. The farmer is selling his maize produce at between Sh900 and Sh1,000. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Farmers yesterday took to the streets of Kitale in solidarity with perceived Jubilee rebel MPs Joshua Kuttuny (Cherangany), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills).

The protesters said they backed the stand taken by the three legislators in pressing for better maize producer prices from the Sh2,300 set by the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) board and also for the opening of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores.

Waving maize cobs, the farmers demanded that the Government pays them Sh3,600 for a 90kg bag for the current season's maize.

Dennis Ndiwa and Simon Murey, both farmers, asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene over the maize price stalemate.

The farmers said the Sh2,300 per bag announced by the SFR board is too low, unacceptable and is demoralising them.

“We support the position that the three MPs have taken. The Government should give us better prices for maize as it is our main source of income and we want  the price to be raised to Sh3600 per 90kg bag,” said Mr Murey.

The farmers accused some MPs and Government officials of working with cartels to deny them their rightful earning from the maize farming.

“We know our enemies and the MPs who are out to oppress our farming activities and Kenyans will harshly judge them,” a farmer vowed.

The cost of production is unattainable and the decision by the national government to drop the buying prices will frustrate farming.

“It is discouraging that the Government has not cleared payment for maize delivered to the board last season. We have huge stock at our homes and we do not know when the Government will start buying the crop,” lamented George Bitok.

They challenged President Kenyatta to crack the whip on officials colluding with cartels to ruin maize farming.

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