Leaders, farmers want maize prices increased

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Nandi

Nandi leaders and farmers have petitioned the government to review maize prices, terming the set minimum producer price too low due to the high cost of production.

Led by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, they said the Sh4,000 per 90-kg bag of maize offered by the State was low, adding that farming is a business and all costs must be considered before a price is declared.

Speaking at Kapsabet Showground on Sunday during a fundraiser for the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) proposed commercial building (plaza), Cherargei stated that they want fair prices for the commodity so that farmers can earn a profit. The event was attended by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, among other leaders.

“The government should ensure fair pricing of maize so that farmers can reap maximum returns. Producer price should not be below Sh5,500,” Cherargei said.

The senator said since all other cereals are packaged in a 50-kg bag, the same should be applied to maize production so that even if farmers decide to go with the state price, they will not incur losses.

His sentiments were echoed by farmers, who said that although the government lowered production costs through subsidised fertiliser, the increase in fuel prices escalated the cost of production.

“The government, before announcing new prices, should use agricultural extension officers to determine the cost of production by factoring in seeds, lease of land, chemicals used, harvesting costs, transportation, and shelling, among others. Producing a 90-kg bag of maize is very expensive,” said Amos Korir from Mosop Sub County.

Maize harvesting in the region has started in earnest, with farmers calling on the government to provide them with dryers before the start of El Nino rains.

“Let the government provide maize dryers so that we can dry our produce before the start of El Nino rains,” said Caroline Koech, who is expecting a bumper harvest from her 5-acre maize farm.

The government is projecting a bumper harvest of 44 million bags of maize, of which more than 23 million bags will be from high-producing counties in the North Rift region.

The Ministry of Agriculture has attributed the good harvest to government interventions through fertiliser subsidies.

By Linet Wafula

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