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September 18, 2018

Bungoma maize farmers decry exploitation by middlemen

Bungoma agriculture executive Mathews Makanda at Miyanga stalled maize cereal depot in Bumula on Thursday/BRIAN OJAMAA
Bungoma agriculture executive Mathews Makanda at Miyanga stalled maize cereal depot in Bumula on Thursday/BRIAN OJAMAA

 

Maize farmers in Bungoma have complained about the lack of market for their produce.

The farmers say the situation has exposed them to exploitation by middlemen, who are buying their maize for as low as Sh30 per 2kg tin.

The traders later sell the maize at Sh150 per tin, making about 500 per cent profit.

“We can’t keep the maize because we need money to do other things,” seasoned farmer Patrick Mulongo said. He asked the the county government to intervene. The farmers also asked the state to open the National Cereals and Produce Board depots in Bungoma, Kapsokwony, Webuye and Sirisia to buy their maize. The Miyanga depot was closed in 1998.

Agriculture executive Mathews Makanda, who visited the depot on Thursday, said he has written to the Agriculture PS and the NCPB to renovate the facility and make it operational. 

Makanda said it was worrying that farmers were selling their maize for as low as Sh800 per 90kg bag. The government is buying maize for Sh3,200 per bag although the NCPB has stopped buying more grain since all its depots are full. “We want the NCPB to revive these depots and buy maize from our farmers,” Makanda said.

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