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Maize prices drop to Sh2600 a bag

Workers prepare maize in front of a store in Kitale. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Maize prices have continued to drop gradually in Kitale as preparation for the Christmas season kicks in.

The decline in price has been blamed on the continued heavy rains that have characterized huge post-harvest losses.

Some farmers who lack proper storage facilities are selling their grains hurriedly to avoid losses due to high humidity during the rainy season.

A survey by The Standard indicates that a 90 kilograms’ bag that previously sold at Sh3000 now fetches Sh2600 with fears that it might drop further. This has seen the middlemen take advantage of the challenges facing farmers to dictate the market price.

Delays in the opening of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for the current season crop has also exposed farmers to massive exploitation.

Small scale farmers hit by lack of storage facilities and facing other financial obligations are forced to sell their produce at lower prices as set by traders.

“I have been forced to sell our maize to avoid post-harvest losses since the NCPB has not started buying the crop,” said Fredrick Rono.

“The State is insensitive to the plight of maize farmers. The state has exposed us to exploitation by traders,” he added.

Some farmers are selling their maize to plan for the Chrismas celebrations and also raise money for their children’s school fees for my children,” said Francis Koti.

Tom Nyagechaga, the secretary-general of the Kenya National Federation of Farmers blamed the national government for the price drop, saying the delay in opening the NCPB stores had opened windows to middlemen to exploit farmers.

Heavy rains have also frustrated farmers who are yet to harvest their crops.

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