Farmers plant maize despite input problems

Rain finally fell on Monday and farmers could start planting after drought

In Summary

• Low maize purchase prices, no subsidised fertiliser.

• Long rains not expected to be long or very heavy in many areas.

Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
PLANTING AT LAST: Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
Image: FILE

Farmers in Trans Nzoia have finally started to plant maize after the rains that started to fall on Monday.

The long drought has caused tension across the nation and fears of food security and cheap imports.

Farmers normally sow maize seeds in the first week of March but planting has been delayed by lack of rain.

On Tuesday, most farmers had started to plant in Saboti, Endebess, Kwanza, Cherangany and Kiminini.

Cherangany farmer Ben Kiplagat said he is optimistic that despite the delays, his maize will germinate and give him good yields.

Last week, Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba had asked residents to ensure they keep food that can sustain them for a long time due to unpredictable weather.

On Sunday, Christians across the region prayed for rain so they can plant maize and water their livestock.

They say God has answered their prayers and are optimistic they will get good yields despite late planting.

Farmers have been facing many problems, especially prices offered by the government to purchase their maize.

Last season, the government bought a 90kg bag of maize for Sh2,300, which farmers in the North Rift said was too low.

The government said it would only purchase as many as two million bags of maize last season, which caused farmers to hoard it in anticipation of higher prices.

Farmers were also not supplied with subsidised fertiliser by the government. They were forced to buy a bag of DAP fertilizer at much higher prices.

A bag of DAP now sells for more than Sh3,500, instead of Sh2,500 for subsidised fertiliser.