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February 23, 2019

Khaemba warns of maize glut, low prices

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba /CORAZON WAFULA
Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba /CORAZON WAFULA
Trans Nzoia governor, Patrick Khaemba has urged the national government to be involving them in decision making relating to agriculture sector in order to provide viable solution to farmers.
Speaking during an Agribusiness Expo organized by the East African Grain Council (EAGC) in Kitale town, Governor Khaemba said he plays a critical role in providing input in decisions made by the government in the sector to safeguard farmers from challenges they are currently facing.
He said if they are involved it will be easy for the county government and the national government to work together and provide a better environment for farmers to succeed in their farming practices.
“We have not been involved much in making decisions,” he said.
The governor disclosed that lack of involvement will make it difficult for them to help in achieving the President’s Big4Agenda especially on food security
He said that due to the problem, there is a looming crisis for maize farmers in Trans Nzoia as most of the stores are full and yet they are preparing to harvest their maize crops.
“We are about to harvest our maize crops, Our cereals board stores and other stores are full where will we take our maize to yet we flooded the market with imported maize,” he said.
The governor urged farmers in the county to prepare for a tough time since after harvesting their maize crops.
He said the imported maize and the East African Community Integration has led to flooding of the market affecting the price of maize for local farmers.
“And because of the East African Community Integration we cannot stop them from trading with us, but where will we sell our maize and at what prices,” he said.
On production,Governor Khaemba said the country can only produce enough food if the land use management policy is rectified to minimize subdivision of land.
He said the rate of subdivision of land in Trans Nzoia is alarming leaving small sections where enough food can be grown.
“If this country has to produce enough food, we must change the land management policy where  by we stop subdivision of land then we urge those with large tracts of land to use modern farming methods,” he pointed out
He also said the government should then provide affordable machines for small scale farmers to mechanize their farming practices which will result to increased yields.
The governor asked various stakeholders in the agriculture sector to partner with the county government in providing more machines to enhance conservation agriculture among the farmers.
He said the county government has afforded few of the machines asking that once the national government and other stakeholders come on board then the modern farming method will be adopted by most of the farmers which will result to increased yields.
The Food Agricultural Organization FAO) to Kenya Dr. Gabriel Rugalema urged farmers to utilize the available technologies in farming to improve their yields.
He said that the challenge with most East African countries is that productivity is still low making it challenging for traders to fetch good prices.
He also urged the county government to invest in storage facilities and aggregation centers promising that they are ready to to partner in that area.
On livestock Dr. Rugalema said FAO will partner with the county government in vaccinating sheep and goats against the PPI diseases.
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