Maize farmers in North Rift region want the government to stop imports from Uganda, blaming it for current high market saturation, hence poor price at the time they are harvesting their yield.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture has ruled out a ban in the importation of the commodity, insisting that the country’s production this season cannot manage the huge deficit
With each person consuming at least 103 kg of maize per year, the country requires at least 45.7 million bags against its production capacity of 32.3 million.
The government is planning to import at least 20 million bags this year from Uganda and Tanzania.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of an agribusiness trade fair in the region, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said Kenya will not curtail inflow of maize from Uganda as the two countries belong to the East Africa Community’s Customs Union.
He explained that the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPBD) has already opened its silos for farmers in the region and that it is paying them Sh2300 per 90kg bag.
“As members of a trading bloc, we are not supposed to block maize from the region because we have signed protocol.
He challenged farmers to be more competitive in crops production in order to outdo their Ugandan counterparts and remain relevant in the market.
Through Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago, farmers complained that cartels imported cheap maize from Uganda ahead of harvesting in the region
The governor asked NCPBD to buy maize from local farmers at Sh3000 instead of Sh2300 so that they compensate for the poor quality fertilizer supplied a head of the planting season.
Farmers in the region are yet to take their yield to the NCPBD since they started harvesting three weeks ago.
Bet has urged them to sell to NCPBD or risk selling it at loss to middlemen who are currently buying 90kg bag for Sh1800