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Farmers decry high cost of farm inputs

Stakeholders at a two day farmers’ retreat organized by the East  African Grain Council (EAGC) have attributed diminishing profits to high taxes on agricultural farm inputs and machineries.

The theme whose focus was on advocacy on new technologies with the aim of boosting yields want the government to harmonize farm inputs and the cost of machineries to those of other East African countries.

“Kenya remains high in cost of production and taxes in comparison to Tanzania and Uganda which have lower taxes. This  disadvantages farmers in Kenya with an increased balance of payment owing to growing importation,” said EAGC’s Executive  Officer, Gerald Masila.

Masila,  who  was  speaking at a two days retreat for farmers at the Kitale National Polytechnic however, welcomed the move by the government to enact a law to legalize the use of the warehouse receipt system, saying it will offer farmers access to credit facilities as collateral.

According  to Masila, the Warehouse Receipt  Act  will see all warehouses licensed to be operational which will be beneficial to farmers who face difficulties in seeking loans.

A  Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) enables farmers to deposit storable goods (usually grains or coffee) in exchange for a warehouse receipt (WR), issued by warehouse operators as evidence that specified commodities of stated quantity and quality have been deposited at a particular location.

Trans Nzoia county government challenged farmers in the region to take advantage of the new measures put in place by the devolved unit to reduce the cost of production through new technologies like conservation Agriculture to improve their yields.

“We challenge our farmers to embrace new technological advancements which reduce the cost of production while improving the financial returns as opposed to obsolete technologies,” said the county’s Agriculture County Executive Committee Member, Mary  Nzomo.

Mrs. Nzomo also challenged grain farmers to embrace the cooperative model of business that will give them a voice in marketing their produce.

She  said that the county government has set up measures to revamp the co-operative department with the aim of assisting farmers get away with middlemen and maximise profits.

By  Pauline Ikanda

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