Kenyan farmers hungry for a better deal under the Sh6million Strategic Food Reserve

The government plans to spend the Sh6 billion to buy all the maize offered for sale by farmers.

Growers in the North Rift have asked the ministry of Agriculture to announce the buying prices for this season

This is after the Government announced it will spend Sh6 billion ($58m) to subsidize maize to make the staple food affordable to Kenyans.

Speaking at Jamhuri Park Showground when he officially opened this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said his administration will take steps to cushion consumers against the high food prices.

“To boost our food security and sustain affordable price for maize flour, the Government will buy under the Strategic Food Reserve, all the maize offered for sale by our farmers during this 2017/18 season. For this purpose, we have planned to spend Kshs 6 billion,”  President Kenyatta said

The farmers, however, want a better deal than last time and want the ministry to purchase the produce for more than the Sh3,000 ($30) it offered last season per 90-kilogramme bag, citing increased production costs due to the outbreak of Fall Armyworm that damaged 40 per cent of their crop.

Low prices of maize has also seen some farmers abandon the crop which is Kenya’s staple food altogether and have shifted for strong barley and sorghum which fetch higher prices.

The icing on the cake for barley farmers is the fact that they contracted by beer making companies and therefore, assured of a ready market compared to maize and wheat farmers who have no ready market and are exposed to vulgarities of the market.

The farmers, who were led by Ainabkoi Member of Parliament William Chepkut, say they want maize and wheat prices increased to enable them to break even.

They further added that better prices will also see them increase acreage of the crops, ensuring higher yields next season.

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