The Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF) chairman Noah Wekesa has announced that the government will be purchasing the 90kg bag of maize from farmers, currently being harvested, at Kshs 2300, a significant drop from the Kshs 3200 purchase price set for the same maize quantity. Wekesa said the purchase of the stock will start through the NCPB once funds are availed by the Treasury. He noted the decision for the price reduction was due to the sufficient availability of maize and that they’re trying to balance the interest of farmers and consumers, “Raising the price to Kshs 3200 as was last year would mean the retail price would go up,” he said.
The SFRF chair said farmers are set to be paid Kshs 2.1 billion, which has been released by the government, with the number of those who haven’t been paid after delivering maize in 2017/2018 set at 226. He said some farmers, however, are yet to be cleared by EACC, “62 have been found to have issues with EACC,” he said.
The decision to reduce the 90kg maize bag price has already met its first opposition, with Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba and his Uasin Gishu counterpart Jackson Mandago faulting the move. Speaking in Eldoret the two Governors said the task force appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to deal with the maize issues wasn’t consulted. “If we aren’t buying maize in line with last year’s price of Kshs 3200, then the minimum we expect is Kshs 2500…on the Kshs 2300, me and Khaemba aren’t part of it,” said Mandago, “We in the task force are going to contest that announcement.” He said some quarter sin the national government are taking the President’s directive lightly and want to go back to making same decision and same mistakes. On his part, Governor Khaemba said the two governors are better placed for their Counties are the producers and they know the costs better.