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December 14, 2018

Rift Valley team to meet Uhuru over maize prices

Agriculture CAS Andrew Tuimur when he appeared before the Agriculture committee yesterday /JACK OWUOR
Agriculture CAS Andrew Tuimur when he appeared before the Agriculture committee yesterday /JACK OWUOR

A high-powered delegation made up of farmers, professionals, a section of politicians and businessmen from Rift Valley have lined up a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta to appeal for a maize price review. 

The Star has learnt that the delegation is carrying with them a formal proposal that the government should transfer Sh1000 from the fertiliser subsidy programme to be used in topping up the maize price.

If the President will accept the proposal, a 90 kg bag of maize would go for Sh3,200 which the farmers are agitating for.

It is understood that the team has been pushing for the appointment with the president before the DP returns from Italy.

The meeting comes despite Agriculture CAS Andrew Tuimur told maize farmers to forget any possibility of price changes. 

Read: Cabinet approves Sh2,300 for maize purchase

Speaking when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Agriculture committee, Tuimur said the Sh2,300 price was arrived at by the Strategic Grain Reserves Board and ratified by the Cabinet.

“My hands are tied. We cannot change the prices now,” Tuimur told the committee chaired by Mandera South MP Adan Haji.

Two weeks ago the Cabinet approved the purchase of maize for Sh2,300 per 90kg bag in a meeting chaired by Uhuru Kenyatta and attended by Deputy President William Ruto. 

The DP has been advocating for diversification of crop production while MPs Alfred Keter, Joshua Kuttuny and Silas Tiren have been pushing for a higher pay for farmers.

Yesterday in Parliament, MPs and Tuimur locked horns over how the government arrived at the Sh2,300 price.

Tuimur insisted the price was fair and was arrived at after analysing all the parameters.

The CAS told the committee that the Strategic Grain Reserves Board considered the prevailing market.

“The average cost of production was established as Sh1,539 per 90 kg bag. The cost considered seeds, fertilizer, land lease (where applicable), pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, machinery, labour, transport, working capital among other factors. The price would compensate farmers adequately,” he told the committee.

He added: “The price was adjusted upwards to Sh2,124 by factoring all the factors of production”.

Read: Rift MPs reject Uhuru’s offer of Sh2,300 for a bag of maize

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