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Maize farmers hoarding produce for better pay

Friday, January 10, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY MATHEWS NDANYI

Maize deliveries to the National Cereals and Produce Board has dropped with only 450,000 bags so far purchased out of the one million bags targeted to boost the strategic grain reserve.

Few farmers are delivering maize at NCPB depots in Eldoret, Kitale and Moi's Bridge with many holding onto their produce in anticipation of higher prices than the Sh3,000 per 90kilo bag currently offered by the NCPB.

The board was receiving about 20,000 bags daily but the amount has dropped to about 10,000 bags. "We are still receiving a good amount of maize daily and we hope to meet out target," said NCPB spokesman Evans Wasike in a telephone interview.

So far the board has paid out more than Sh1 billion to farmers out of the Sh3 billion released by the government for the purchase. The ongoing purchase will increase the strategic grain reserve currently standing at 2.5 million bags.

"We anticipate there will be a shortage of maize and the prices are likely to go up. As farmers we are monitoring the markets before we decide to dispose of the maize we have," said Amos Kebenei a farmers at Moiben in Uasin Gishu County.

Following the ongoing purchase, maize prices in most parts of the Rift valley and Western Kenya have gone up within the last one week. Middlemen area also purchasing the maize from farmers at prices almost equal to NCPB and some of them said the supplies had dwindled in most areas.