The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has been asked to sells subsidized maize in order to cushion Vihiga County residents against unscrupulous business brokers capitalizing on food shortage caused by the prolonged dry spell.
The call was made by three area Deputy County Commissioners (DCCs) during County Disaster Preparedness Committee (CDPC) meeting held at Vihiga County Commissioner’s Boardroom on Monday.
The Emuhaya DCC, Elvis Korir regretted what he termed as “unnecessary high cost of maize,” a situation he claimed had been caused by brokers out to make a kill from unsuspecting members of public.
According to Korir, Emuhaya Sub County, like other areas in the county, was yet to be seriously affected by food shortage.
“Emuhaya Sub County has sufficient variety of foodstuffs, including maize, capable of feeding area residents to the next maize and beans harvest season,” reported Korir.
However, the DCC said the locals were presently buying a 2kg tin (gorogoro) of maize at Sh.95 that was retailing at an average of Sh.70 about two weeks ago.
Ugali, a meal prepared from maize flour, is considered among stable foods consumed by majority of the locals living in Vihiga County.
“It is regrettable to note that some unscrupulous business people have caused prices of the commodity to shoot up owing to the prolonged drought situation which has affected most parts of the country,” said Korir.
“The skyrocketing price of maize has in turn affected increase in prices of other basic household commodities such as vegetables,milk, beans and rice,” he added.
The DCC expressed fear that the locals risked experiencing what he further described as artificial hunger if the
plummeting cost of basic commodities was not properly checked.
According to the official, about 280 households in the sub county were vulnerable and were calling for urgent help from well-wishers.
He appealed to the NCPB to open local stores in Chavakali and Hamisi to enable the locals to access maize and beans at affordable rates.
The Hamisi DCC, Denis Kirui and his Luanda Counterpart, Mrs. Caroline Onjoka echoed Korir’s sentiments.
“It is a fact that all major markets in the County are littered with a variety of foodstuffs but prices have suddenly shot up,” remarked Kirui.
Kirui confirmed availability of about 7,740 bags of 50kgs of maize at Hamisi NCPB and at the same time urged the government to sell the same at subsidized prices to Kenyans.
“The high price of maize as well as other basic commodities would drastically go down if NCPB allowed members of public to access the stocked maize,” said Kirui who put the number of vulnerable households in the sub county at 380.
On her part, Onjoka reported that a total of 1,062 people were in dire in need of food aid.
The Vihiga CC, Mrs. Suzan Waweru chaired the meeting which was attended by several heads of departments.
By Maurice Aluda