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State raises maize, wheat prices to save farmers from middlemen

By Lucas Ngasike | October 23rd 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The Government has heard the cry of cereals producers and reviewed prices of maize and wheat upwards.

In the new prices, a 90kg bag of maize will fetch Sh2,800 up from Sh2,300 at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

The Government has also set the price of a 90kg sack of wheat at Sh3,000 to save farmers from exploitation by middlemen.

Announcing the new prices, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett warned cartels that have been exploiting farmers in the North Rift that their days are numbered. He said local millers were aware of the prices they had agreed with the State but were still exploiting farmers through meagre prices.

The CS asked farmers not to sell their produce at cheaper prices to millers and middlemen.

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The announcement came amid protests by wheat and maize farmers in the region last week against poor prices by millers and middlemen and influx of cheap imports from neighbouring countries. Mr Bett said some unscrupulous businessmen were stocking their stores with imported maize from neigbouring countries to frustrate local farmers.

“We cannot allow some middlemen to exploit farmers. We want farmers to be cautious of cartels that have caused problems in the markets and only sell their wheat and maize produce at the standardised prices to make good returns,” Bett told farmers in Cheptiret, Uasin Gishu County.

He said farmers should be encouraged to grow more wheat through good prices for their produce and incentives. About 70 per cent of wheat consumed in the country is imported, he said.

The CS said dairy farming has become a lucrative business in the region and pledged that the national and county governments will boost the sector  by providing more milk coolers. Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said they will deliver 50 milk coolers to farmers in the region.

The Governor urged farmers to join cooperative societies so they can get cheap loans and benefit from subsidised fertilisers and seeds. Mr Mandago said the county government has set aside Sh100 million to provide subsidised fertiliser and seeds to farmers who join the cooperatives societies.

“We need to boost farmers, not business people. Our priority is to provide farmers with the support they require in order to boost their productivity in the region. We want them to get  value for their produce by ensuring that they are promptly paid on time and are protected from exploitation by middlemen,” he said.

Maize wheat farming food prices starvation
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