Murkomen puts gov’t on the spot over maize farmers’ plight

Murkomen puts gov’t on the spot over maize farmers’ plight

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen has put the national government on the spot over the plight of maize farmers in the North Rift.

Addressing the press at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday, Murkomen faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Monday evening directive on the purchase of maize from farmers at 2,500, saying the amount will only see farmers grapple with losses.

“I’m equally shocked that the government has directed maize to be bought at ksh2,500, to the detriment of the farmers who are in need of government support now more than ever to be able to deal with the economic shocks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It seems discriminatory that while the government is rolling out intervention measures to revive other sectors of the economy, farmers are being asked to accept a paltry 2,500, despite the high cost of production,” he said.

Murkomen also pointed out that government had left maize farmers exposed to tough economic conditions due to non-payment of past dues for maize delivered three years ago, calling on the payment to be inclusive of interests.

“As the government addresses the non-payment for the deliveries farmers made to NCPB three years ago, these payments must be made inclusive of interest computed using current bank rates from the time they delivered their maize,” he stated.

The former Senate Majority leader also questioned the government’s move to stop the purchase of maize from farmers, and the lack of subsidized farm input from government.

“Since independence, Kenyan governments have always supplied input to farmers at subsidized prices; this was however stopped abruptly by this administration.

“The question I ask is, can the national government explain why it is not offering subsidized farm inputs to maize farmers this year? Why is the government leaving farmers to the mercy of farm input suppliers?” questioned Murkomen.

He called on the government to avail subsidized farm inputs to farmers, and resume the purchase of maize at the price of Ksh3,500.

Additionally, Senator Murkomen called for the convention of a national conference on agriculture to address the agricultural crisis in the country, as a clear-cut path to ensuring Kenya becomes food secure.