A section of wheat farmers in Narok County have raised concern over increased cost of production occasioned by the increase in the cost of petroleum products.
The Narok farmers chairman Musa Ole Nampaso lamented that many farmers could be forced to pull out from wheat farming to do other businesses that would bring them more profit if the price of fuel would not go down.
Nampaso who spoke from his farm in Melili area, Narok North Sub County said a large portion of land in the area has not been ploughed despite the onset of long rains.
“Most large scale farmers depend on tractors for tilling, harrowing, planting, spraying and harvesting. But because of the increased fuel prices, the cost of production has gone too high making many farmers withdraw from farming,” He said.
According to the farmer, the cost of tilling one acre of land has shot up from Sh1800 two years ago to Sh2500 currently after the fuel hike while harrowing has equally increased from Sh1000 to Sh1500.
He called on the government to regulate the market price of farm produce to enable farmers in the region to reap the benefits of their labour.
“Currently, a 90-kilogram bag of wheat sells between Sh3000 and Sh3500 depending on the season. However, we request the government to regulate this price by fixing the minimum price at Sh4000 that will remain constant throughout the year,” he said.
Equally, the farmer called on the government to provide the subsidized Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer as the retail shops are currently selling a 50kg bag of the fertilizer at Sh3200 higher than the subsidized fertilizer that sells at Sh1800.
Another farmer in the region Abraham Ole Dikirr said despite the good climatic condition experienced in the area since last year, very many large scale farmers have been forced to shift from wheat farming owing to the high production costs.
“Some farmers have opted to subdivide their land and hire it to other small scale farmers for planting potatoes, cabbage, carrots, maize and peas that do well in the region,” said Ole Dikirr.
He observed that during good weather seasons, one acre of land could produce between 20 and 25 bags of wheat.
Narok County is famous for wheat production, which is cultivated by both locals and foreigners who lease large pieces of land to cultivate wheat.
By Ann Salaton