Buy our maize at a good price, farmers urge Ruto at Likuyani

President William Ruto during the groundbreaking Ceremony for Kakamega Aggregation and Industrial Park in Likuyani Constituency, Kakamega County. [PCS]

Western region farmers have asked President William Ruto to ensure the government buys their produce at a good price.

During the president’s launch of the Sh500 million industrial park in Likuyani, the farmers expressed their views at the Kakamega State Lodge during a consultative meeting. They urged the president and his government to allocate funds for the purchase of their maize.

“We want our government to allocate funds that can be used for our maize. This will prevent future hardships for Kenyans due to maize shortages and will also facilitate us farmers in cultivating maize in the upcoming season,” said a farmer from Trans Nzoia county.

Farmers said they have been selling their maize at extremely low prices to brokers. They emphasised the importance of the government purchasing their produce to prevent future food shortages and to alleviate the difficulties faced by farmers.

“We used to sell a kilo of maize for Sh150 to Sh200 not too long ago. However, currently, some of us are only able to sell maize for Sh60 to Sh100. We urge the government to purchase our produce at a fair price. This way, we can build up a food reserve for the future,” a farmer said.

Ruto, on the other hand, said he will collaborate with governors to ensure farmers receive fertilisers and seedlings. He pledged to take strong action against cartels and brokers within the agricultural value chain.

“Annually, we are spending Sh540 billion on importing food products. Yet, the Western region possesses the capability to produce these food products. All we need to do is support our farmers. We have a readily available market right here in Kenya.

“We shouldn’t funnel our money to external entities when our own region can sufficiently supply these products,” Ruto said.

The president inaugurated the Kakamega County Aggregation Industrial Park in Likuyani constituency, Kakamega, with an investment of Sh500 million. During the event, he said local farmers and residents will market their domestically produced goods both within the country and abroad.

He added that the industrial park will offer space for various industries to operate within the region.

“We aim to enable our community in Kakamega and numerous other counties to optimise their income sources, particularly within the agricultural sector,” Ruto said.

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa expressed his commitment to preventing farmers from facing losses during abundant harvests.

He plans to establish centres where farmers can sell their maize at favourable prices and have access to a readily available market.