The government is encouraging farmers to enter into a contract with the National Cereals and Produce Board to cut out brokers and cartels in the maize sector.
Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur yesterday said going forward, the Strategic Food Reserve board should enter into a contract with farmers who want to sell maize to the board.
“This way, farmers will be guaranteed a ready market, good prices and it will also enhance good quality of maize which should be a requirement within the contract, “ Tuimur told the Star on phone.
He said sorghum and barley farmers have been benefiting from contract farming with the Kenya Breweries Limited. “It is high time other farmers started doing the same,” he said.
In Baringo, 1,323 farmers have been growing maize, sorghum and green grams through a contract with the Kenya Seed Company at Pekerra Irrigation Scheme.
Weston Ranoi, chairman of Pekerra Irrigation scheme, said about 100 acres are under sorghum farming this season.
“During the main season, farmers grow maize but after the harvest they diversify to other crops including green grams, cowpeas and sorghum. With access to irrigated water, farmers are able to grow two crops in a season, “ he said.
Stephen Sunguna is a beneficiary of the contract and this season.
He planted sorghum in one acre and is expecting to harvest 2,800 kilograms translating to about Sh126,000 with a kilo selling at Sh45.
“Contract farming guarantees me a ready market for my produce and the prices are better than those offered in the local market,” he said.
He was addressing the media during a field visit of Pekerra irrigation scheme on Thursday.
Pekerra Irrigation Scheme manager Enos Wafula said the current acreage under the scheme is 5,800 acres but they are only able to utilise 2,500 acres due to limitations in water supply.
To address this, Wafula said plans are underway to construct Radat Dam which will increase acreage under irrigation to 20,000 that will help farmers all the way to Lake Baringo.
The dam will cost Sh15 billion and will take five years to be completed.