Farmers Set New Conditions for Selling Maize to NCPB

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Farmers in the country’s food basket areas have resolved that they will only sell maize to the government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) on condition that it buys a 50kg bag at Ksh2300 as opposed to the current proposal to buy a 90kg bag at the same price.

The decision was arrived at during a charged consultative meeting held at Teachers Advisory Center in Eldoret on Thursday.

Led by Jackson Kwambai and Kimutai Kolum, both large-scale and small-scale farmers in the region also threatened to turn their maize harvests into animal feeds if the government maintains its low price.

A farmer harvesting maize

The farmers were drawn from maize-growing counties of Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet and part of the Western region.

According to Kwambai, the new maize prices will not stabilise the market as claimed by the government but will instead kill the agriculture sector which is the main economic activity of residents in the region.

It is very discouraging for the government to offer maize farmers a lower price for their produce when they are expecting bumper harvest this season without even factoring in the cost of production,” he regretted.

He also revealed that most farmers in the region were still holding up to 500,000 bags of maize in their stores from last year’s harvest due to lack of market for the produce.

Kolum advised that the government should be inviting representatives from the farmers across the country to get their input when determining the price of their products as a sign of good faith.

The threat comes in the wake of an anticipated harvest of about 40 million bags of maize in the region in the next two months.

The farmers’ demands will only increase troubles by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri who is already under pressure to resolve rampant corruption in the ministry.

During a session with members of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Kiunjuri indicated that he is prepared to table resignation rather than have his name tarnished.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri

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