FARMERS DEMAND BETTER

Maize prices improve as millers offer Sh2,800 for a bag

Most farmers hold on to their produce forcing millers to offer better prices

In Summary

The government has released Sh3 billion for the purchase of cereals from farmers. Wants to buy one million bags

Farmers are still pushing the government to buy their maize at more than Sh3,000 per bag in order to stabilise the market.

 

Maize at the NCPB depot in Eldoret
STOCK: Maize at the NCPB depot in Eldoret
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

 

Maize prices in the North Rift have improved from Sh2,200 a week ago to Sh2,800 for a 90kg bag after millers offered farmers improved rates.

Most farmers are holding on to their produce in anticipation of better prices after the government announced it will start buying maize.

The prices have since increased after the government opened National Cereals and Produce Board depots two weeks ago to start purchases at Sh2,500 per bag.

Before the depots opened, maize was selling for an average Sh2,200 per bag but millers have increased the prices to about Sh2,800 per bag in most parts of Rift Valley and Western regions.

Farmers are still pushing the government to buy their maize at more than Sh3,000 per bag in order to stabilise the market.

“Most farmers are yet to begin deliveries to the NCPB because with millers offering better prices there is anticipation that the prices are likely to go even higher in the near future,” Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo said.

Menjo and Moiben MP Silas Tiren have asked the government to ensure there are no imports so that farmers get better prices.

“Like last year, we hope there will be no imports because farmers harvested enough and all they need is better prices which would enable them to increase production this year,” Menjo said.

Tiren who chairs the National Assembly's Agriculture Committee said the government will discuss farmers' proposal to increase prices at NCPB.

“Farmers say that at Sh2,500 per bag, they are not making profits and as stakeholders, we will meet and urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to allow the Agriculture ministry to raise the prices," Tiren said on Saturday.

He said farmers are opposed to imports because the harvest was good and that importation would drive prices down.

“We have to do all we can to protect all our farmers so they can earn from their activities and increase production," Tiren said.

Last week, the government released Sh3 billion to the opened NCPB stores for maize purchase at Sh2,500 per bag. The board is already receiving maize in Eldoret, Kitale and other areas.

“We have heard farmers' complaints about maize prices and we will organise a meeting with the President to ask him to intervene and increase the NCPB price so farmers can make some profits," Tiren said.

He said farmers had a bumper harvest and the government should offer them a better price.

The NCPB expects to buy more than one million bags of maize from the farmers to replenish its Strategic Grain Reserves.

The state had planned to roll out the Warehouse Receipting System but it faltered and will not be used due to delays in passing enabling legislation.

Despite more than 12 NCPB stores having been approved for use by farmers under the WRS, no maize has been delivered under the system. It is expected to be used at some point this year.

 

Edited by P.O