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Maize farmers raise concerns over pricing, closed NCPB depots

COUNTIES
By Silah Koskei | Dec 16th 2014 | 2 min read

Farmers in the North Rift have given the Government a 24-hour ultimatum to announce maize prices or else they will paralyse activities tomorrow.

The farmers said the Government should announce the maize prices and give a directive on the opening of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots.

Speaking Monday in Eldoret after a consultative meeting, the farmers led by two MPs Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), gave Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei 24 hours to address the stalemate.

"We are aware that Koskei is out of the country and is expected to arrive on Tuesday (today). We expect him to make a public announcement on the maize prices and give a directive on the opening of NCPB," said Keter.

He said farmers in the region have waited for long to get the Government's stand on prices and it was appropriate for their pleas to be heard.

"No activity will take place on Wednesday (tomorrow) in Eldoret town if the CS will not have made announcements on the pricing and farmers have vowed to stay put," he added.

Tiren said they are concerned about the current prices and fear that a number of businessmen are currently hoarding maize as they wait for the opening of NCPB depots.

He called on the CS to end the growing worry among farmers ahead of the Christmas festivities and New Year when most parents are expected to pay school fees for their children.

"The farmers want the price of a bag to be Sh3,200 and not less than Sh3,000 based on their inputs," he said.

Silvester Tot, a farmer from Turbo, expressed his anger over the manner in which the Government has been "silent in addressing the plight of farmers" in the country.

He claimed most NCPB depots are currently full of cheaper maize from other East African countries and wondered where their own would be sold.

Bob Tanui, a youth representative from North Rift, asked the Government to give priority to farmers who specifically plant maize due to the elaborate process they go through.

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