THE TRANS NZOIA NO LONGER GRANARY OF KENYA
By Ricky Sumbu
| February 7th 2017
Thirty years ago all the silos in Kitale and Mois Bridge were full, and there were mountains of stacks of maize standing outside covered by canvas.
The national youth service lorries used distribute maize to other centers in the country from Kitale.
Mysteriously the K.F.A collapse. K.F.A was very important to small farmers. It used to provide farm inputs on loan when the farm harvests his crops he used to take it to K.F.A. or national cereals who recovered their loan and give the farmers his bit.
This encouragement vanished in thin air. This left the small farmers vulnerable to new market forces. Thus the small farmers can no longer access firm inputs from the K.F.A.
This situation led to the introduction of maize cartels, who themselves are not farmers but middlemen. They exploit the farmers by fixing a price for his crop. The small farmer is so much frustrated that he can no longer meet the cost of production.
There has been an overuse of artificial fertilizer in the Trans Nzoia. This, in the long run, kills Bacteria in the soil.
The soil develops hardpans where maize can no longer grow because the soil is dead. In the past, one acre of land could produce forty bags of maize.
With prevailing situations one could be lucky to get thirty bags of maize. When all is done Trans Nzoia will no longer produce maize. We are almost getting there. This is February and maize in the Trans Nzoia is costing over 3000/= shillings.
In 1965 Trans Nzoia was opened for African farmers to come in what were called settlement schemes.
People moved in and the European farms were split into sizable farms which were economically viable from the 1980’s there has been an influx of people in the Trans Nzoia from other parts of the country.
The large farms are being split into small plots. The farms near Kitale Town have been split into small plots which are no longer viable economically. Thus agriculturally the land has reached a point of diminishing returns. It is no longer viable agriculturally.
It is interesting that some large farmers in the Trans Nzoia are no longer in growing maize. They claim that growing maize at a loss.
They are therefore converting their farms into sugar cane plantations. The small farmer abandoned to maize cartels by the Govt. They can only grow enough maize to feed their families.
The idea of commercial maize is beyond their reach. It is also interesting to note that some maize we are eating in the Trans Nzoia is coming from Uganda.
Our good Govt where are we going. We need your assistance if we in the Trans Nzoia have to feed this nation once more.
Otherwise, people in the Trans Nzoia are starving like other parts of the country. Gone are the days when Kenya was primarily an agricultural country with enough to feed itself and her neighbors.
Go back and see how the white farmers organized K.F.A. from 1927 where they amalgamated the small organizations that were into large organizations called Kenya farmers associations.
The K.F.A. had its tentacles in northern Tanzania and it was respected. Why have we killed to frustrate the farmers? Lets us think of what we can do as a nation and not as in individual or as a tribe to frustrate everybody
Go to America and see how the cotton farmers and corn farmers are protected. If they plant a crop and it fails the govt will compensate them. How about our farmer here right now.
He has been thrown to the maize cartels when people in North Eastern Kenya are starving because our good government does not care about the small farmers in the Trans Nzoia who used to feed them. Our good govt come to our assistance and us in the Trans-Nzoia.
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