Farmers in Western warned against selling maize at throwaway prices

A woman dries her maize on the sun after harvest. [File, Standard]

Maize farmers in Western have been urged to stop selling their produce at throwaway prices.

Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) coordinator for Western and Nyanza Pius Akhonya regretted that some farmers are currently selling a 2-kilogram tin of maize at Sh80.

“It is shocking that the same farmers who have been buying 2 kilograms of maize at Sh200 not long ago are selling their produce at throwaway prices,” Mr Akhonya told The Standard.

According to the official, brokers have started moving around villages where they are buying the maize in large quantities at lower prices.

“The farmers must realize that what they are doing is not sustainable and soon we may start experiencing food scarcity and a sharp increase in maize process once again, people must be careful not to exhaust their food reserves,” said Akhonya.

KENAFF has urged local leaders including chiefs, assistant chiefs, ward and village administrators to sensitize the people and encourage them to store their maize for future use.

A section of the chiefs and their assistants have been holding public barazas specifically to urge farmers not to sell their produce to brokers.

“We have been urging farmers not to sell their maize to the buyers moving around villages because that is a recipe for food shortage.  Farmers must preserve their maize to forestall eventual scarcity,” said Butsotso East chief Justus Mukoshi during a public baraza.

Mr Mukoshi said it would be beneficial if a parent opts to take surplus maize to school as part of fees payment as opposed to selling the produce to the brokers.

Meanwhile, Kakamega Woman representative Elsie Muhanda has urged the government to invest in school feeding programme in all public schools.

“For the learners to achieve good development, their nutrition needs must be taken care of by the government,” said Muhanda when she distributed sanitary pads to learners at Ikonyero secondary school in Kakamega.

Ms Muhanda had earlier tabled a Bill in parliament seeking to make school feeding programme in all public schools compulsory.