Government to announce new maize prices next week, says Linturi

Agriculture CSMithika Linturi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The government will next week announce the minimum buying price for maize, according to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

Linturi assured farmers that the government is committed to ensuring maize farming is profitable and that they are protected from exploitation by middlemen.

The government, the CS said, is consulting with other stakeholders to fix a price that is favourable to farmers.

“I will be announcing the new price of maize because it is necessary that farmers are not taken advantage of by brokers. We are in consultation with other stakeholders to be able to fix the price,” said Linturi who spoke during a field day organized by Kenya Seed Company (KSC).

The CS said the government is keen to ensure farmers reap from their hard work as they expect a bumper harvest this year.

“I urge our farmers to be patient as we work out to set the minimum buying price. We are working to ensure farmers get the best price this year,” said Linturi.

The CS was accompanied by KSC managing Director Sammy Chepsiror, Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) Mohammed Bule, and Kenya Seed Board of Directors chairperson Purity Ngirici among others.

Farmers at Wei Wei Irrigation Scheme in Sigor, West Pokot County, sort out maize before shelling in December 2022. [File, Standard]

Linturi said the government has put measures to check the exploitation of maize farmers by middlemen and unscrupulous traders.

“We are keen to protect the interests of farmers. We will not allow brokers to make huge profits at the expense of farmers. I ask farmers to be patient and wait for the prices,” he said.

He observed that the country expects a bumper harvest this season, adding that National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots are ready to receive maize from farmers.

“We have put out silos ready for the harvest season. We have also activated our warehouse receipt system to assist farmers in storing their produce,” said Linturi.

Linturi said the government will buy one million bags of maize from farmers for the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR).

The reserve was established in 2015 and tasked with the responsibility of ensuring Kenyans have sufficient food stocks.

He said the ministry is consulting with the National Treasury to avail funds for the purchase of maize from farmers.

The CS said the government working to provide mobile driers to farmers to ensure maize produce is safe for consumption.

“I have seen farmers drying maize by the roadside, but the good news is that we are going to provide mobile driers to save them from losses caused by aflatoxin,” said Linturi.

He said the government is keen to minimize post-harvest losses that hurt the farmers and threaten food security.

“We are putting in place strategies to ensure produced food is managed well so that we don't lose our produce to aflatoxin and other post-harvest dangers,” added Linturi.

The CS inspected Kenya Seed Company driers and later ADC Semen production centre.