Grain farmers in Lugari Sub- County have been urged to join cooperative societies for better prices of their produce when marketing, Kakamega County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture, Geoffrey Omulayi, has emphasized.
Omulayi noted that there is room for negotiating better prices when farmers are in cooperative societies compared to individual farmers.
“There is better bargaining power for produce in the local and international markets when farmers come together,” he said while flagging off the selling of maize by farmers to the World Food Programme (WFP) at the Majengo cereal warehouse in Lugari Sub-County.
He said cooperative societies discourage brokers who take advantage of farmers by buying their produce at low prices.
Omulayi was encouraged that the first batch of maize that had been stored by farmers at the warehouse which is managed by Majengo farmer cooperative society attracted the international market through WFP which bought it at a good price.
“It’s encouraging that WFP has us covered here in Lugari and bought our maize at Sh3,000 per 90ks bag which is a good price,” said Omulayi.
However, he challenged the farmers to ensure they produce quality maize to attract more buyers and fetch maximum profits locally and internationally.
“International market has now been opened to our farmers here in Lugari and Kakamega County at large, therefore, quality produce is needed for export to fetch good prices since from here, this consignment is being transported to the coast where it will be exported to foreign countries,” said Omulayi.
Thanking Majengo Farmers’ Cooperative Society leadership for the good job, the CECM encouraged them to continue offering good leadership that will lead the society to grow and reap maximum profits hence combat poverty afflicting many farmers in the county.
“Proper leadership brings about accountability and transparency in the cooperative movement that is a key driver in our economy,” stressed Omulayi.
He said plans are underway to construct grain warehouses in every ward within Lugari and Matete Sub-Counties because of their high potential of maize and cereals production.
According to the Chairlady, Majengo Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Alice Adage, WFP bought a total of 2, 200 bags of maize that had been stored by farmers at the warehouse after meeting the required international standards.
Adage promised that the society will continue working closely with the international organization to solve the market problem that for a long time has remained the biggest challenge to maize farmers in the area.
By Geoffrey Satia