Farmers decry low maize prices as brokers cash in on school fees demands
Farmers from Soy South, Elgeyo Marakwet County have lamented over the price of maize in which they say has dropped drastically over the past few days, forcing them to sell their harvests at throw away prices as they seek to raise money for school fees.
Speaking to Citizen Digital in Kimoloi Centre, one of the farmers, Mike Cheruiyot, said that the cost per kilo has dropped to Ksh.18 and this has demoralized farmers because cost of production per kilo is actually higher than the current price.
Cheruiyot explained that middlemen and brokers are taking advantage of the fact that parents are in need of money for school fees to lower prices.
He and other farmer in the region called on the government to set a price guide for maize and other cereals as this would protect farmers from ‘predatory pricing’.
“The prices have gone down so much, the farmers are feeling the effect as school fees bites. We are calling upon the government to see how they can cushion the ordinary farmer so that they can continue to farm”, he said.
The farmers also called on the National Cereals and Produce Board(NCPB) to boost the direct purchase of maize from farmers as this would ensure that farmers get a fair price, keeping them from falling prey to opportunistic middlemen.
Early fertilizer distribution
Farmers from Kamwosor, Elgeyo Marakwet County have also called upon the government to ensure that they avail the subsidized fertilizer to farmers in time to avoid the last minute rush that was witnessed last year.
They called on newly appointed CS for Agriculture, Willy Bett, to ensure that farmers get top quality farm inputs in good time as delays would impact the quality of crop that is harvested.
“We are urging the government to avail the subsidized fertilizers and other farm inputs close to the farmers and on time so that we can effectively promote serious farming,” said one farmer.
Speaking at Kamwosor Centre on behalf of area youth, Abraham Asman, a youth farmer, said that the government should especially consider how to support youth as they do not have the capital that older farmers do.
Asman said that supporting youth farmers would help reduce youth unemployment in the country, and this would in turn lead to greater agricultural output.