Kenyan maize farmers profiting from the price rivalry between the National Cereals and Produce Board and private millers
Maize farmers are profiting from the price rivalry between the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and private millers as they rush to purchase fresh crop due to anticipated shortage caused by declined yield this season.
While the NCPB is offering Sh2,300 per 90kg, some private millers and middlemen give Sh2,400 to bolster their stock to the relief of farmers who have, for the last two years, suffered low prices for their produce.
According to the NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer, they have bought 270,000 of 50kg bags of maize estimated at about Sh460 million, mainly from the North Rift region.
He attributes the low stock to interruptions caused by rains although most farmers rushed to harvest the crop to minimise losses.
“Maize deliveries to our depots are expected to increase as farmers especially in the North Rift continue to harvest the crop,” said Mr Terer while assuring farmers of prompt payments after it sold part of its old stocks to raise funds and create space for the fresh produce.
But private millers including Unga, Eldoret Grain Millers and Maize Milling company are expanding their stores to buy more maize, offering Sh2,400 per 90 kg to the relief of farmers.
Maize was selling at as low as Sh1,600 three months ago after cheap produce especially from Uganda flooded markets in the region, sparking protests among farmers.
It enters the country under the East African Community Common Market protocol.
“The cost of maize production in Uganda is lower since no fertilizer is applied as compared to our case where we have to apply the nutrients to realise better yield,” said Wilson Koech from Uasin Gishu County.
The NCPB, Mr Terer said, targets to buy one million bags of maize this season as farmers petition the government to increase the prices in line with the skyrocketing cost of production.
By BARNABAS BII