- The farmers say Sh 4,000 set by the government for purchase of maize at NCPB was too low considering the high cost of production.
- The farmers said low maize prices will demotivate them to reduce production
Farmers in Rift Valley have urged the government to increase maize prices from the current Sh4,000 to Sh5,500 per 90kg bag.
The farmers led by Kipkorir Menjo and Thomas Bowen said the current National Cereals and Produce Board prices were too low considering the high cost of production.
Bowen said the current cost of producing a bag of maize was more than Sh3,500, meaning farmers are running at losses.
He said farmers will stop producing maize if this does not change.
“The value of shilling has largely dropped and we are within the COMESA region, where the average maize price is about Sh5,500. This is the lowest price the government should give farmers at NCPB,"Bowen said.
He said NCPB should stabilise maize prices and not frustrate farmers with low prices.
Menjo urged the government to protect farmers from cartels who are currently purchasing maize at low prices.
“The low prices are discouraging farmers who will in turn reduce the area put under maize production. This move may make Kenya food insecure," said Menjo.
He faulted Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi for not opening up NCPB depots and providing drying facilities as promised.
"The government promised to provide more than 100 driers to help dry our maize during heavy rains. This is however yet to happen," Menjo said.
David Kiberenge said the subsidised fertiliser sold to farmers did not help much since it arrived late.
“That is why we are requesting that the price of maize be increased, considering the cost of production this year. The Sh 4,000 price per bag may apply from next year," he said.
He asked Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to give maize farmers the same focus he is giving coffee and tea farmers.
“The meetings he has been hosting in the Mt Kenya region should also apply in other parts of the country because we all have issues we want resolved," Kiberenge said.
The farmers spoke at a meeting for farmers' representatives in Eldoret.
Other representatives of the farmers at the meeting were Thomas Korogoren and Ann Kigen.
Fertiliser subsidies provided by President William Ruto's administration saw fertiliser prices go down from Sh3,500 to Sh2,500 per 50kg bag.
In August, Ruto said his administration has spent Sh12 billion in fertiliser subsidies.