Farmers ask President William Ruto not to regulate maize prices

President William Ruto greets members of the public soon after his inaguration on September 13, 2022 at Kasarani. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Maize producers in the North Rift have said the directive by President William Ruto on lowering the cost of fertilizer should not be used to dictate grain market prices at end of the current season.

The farmers, who will soon be harvesting their crop, want the producer price to be at least Sh5,000 for a 90kg bag on account of the high cost of farm inputs they incurred during the planting season.

They said they were forced to purchase fertilizers at between Sh6,500 and Sh7,000 per 50kg bag.

During his inauguration speech, President Ruto announced new fertilizer prices set at Sh3,500 in a bid to lower the cost of production and enable farmers access affordable inputs during the short rains period.

Speaking during a training seminar on profitable farming systems organised by Yara Company, the farmers said that maize prices should bring profits and motivate farmers to return to their farms.

Florence Koros, a farmer from Kipsangui, Uasin Gishu County, warned that this year could witness a lesser harvest given that many maize farmers failed to plant while others had to reduce their acreage due to unaffordable inputs.

Packaged maize at Wei Wei irrigation scheme, Sigor , West Pokot. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

"We are grateful that the new government has been considerate of the farmer and that come next year, we will be able to plant more acres of maize due to affordable inputs. However, let it be remembered that this year's produce will be expensive because of the troubles the farmers had to experience due to skyrocketing cost of inputs," said Koros.

Another farmer, Philip Ngetich, said that farmers should be allowed to dictate the market price of the maize produce rather than imposing a price on them.

"Maize farmers have been incurring losses to the extent that others felt demotivated and opted to grow other crops. However, maize is still the staple crop in our country and we urge the new government to ensure that come the next planting season, the farmers' grievances are addressed," said Ngetich.

Ronald Koech from Trans Nzoia farmers should have a say when it comes to determining the maize market price.

Yara Company manager Abenego Sengwer said that the government should ensure that fertilizer for the next planting season is sourced in good time.

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