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Farmers want government to control consumption of green maize

SMART HARVEST
By Wilberforce Netya | July 18th 2017
Stella Mongina a trader displays her green maize at kisii market,most farmers in the region have opted to harvest their maize while still green and sell them at Sh10 per maize cob. 2kg tin of dry maize is sold at Sh60 [Photos:Sammy Omingo/Standard]

A farmers' lobby group has called on the national government to come up with a policy to guide sale and consumption of green maize.

Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers, Trans Nzoia county branch, chairperson William Kimosong said harvesting of green maize by farmers in North Rift region might reduce yields of dry maize.

He raised concern that hawking of boiled green maize in Kitale town was rampant.

"The consumption of green maize in Kitale is increasing and that could impact negatively on the production of dry maize," he said.

Speaking yesterday at his office, Mr Kimosong said most farmers in the county have started selling green maize since it is fetching higher prices in the local market than dry maize.

Kimasong appealed to the national government to come up with a policy to guide harvesting of green maize noting that if not restricted, the trend could affect the country's food security.

Citing Trans Nzoia, Kimosong said the county consumes more than five tonnes of green maize daily, adding that green maize has become the latest snack in town.

"People are eating mahindi choma (roasted maize) everywhere in town like snacks and that is affecting national food security," he said.

Kimosong also attributed shortage of maize in the country to soil infertility and reduced land size in the region considered to be the country's bread basket.

"Soil fertility continues to drop in this region and it is high time we change our mode of crop production. Let us embrace new technologies like the use of greenhouse for the production of horticultural crops," he said.

He warned that the country might face shortage of quality seeds as many farms used for production by seeds companies were being subdivided.

"We must protect companies producing seeds because soon we will be forced to spend more on the purchase of seeds, which might hold back the country's food security plan," he said.

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba said harvesting of green maize could affect maize production in the county.

"We want the harvest of green maize to be monitored as many people are eating green maize as the price of dry maize has increased immensely," said Mr Khaemba. [Wilberforce Netya] 

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