North Rift leaders decry Cabinet approved maize price

Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny has urged maize farmers to stand firm
Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny has urged maize farmers to stand firm

After Cabinet approved the price of maize at Kshs 2300 per 90kg bag as had been earlier set by the Strategic Food Reserve Fund, some leaders have faulted the decision, which they indicated hasn’t considered the maize farmers’ situations. The Cabinet on Thursday approved the purchase of 2 million bags of maize from local farmers at Kshs 2300 per bag during a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta and attended by Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries at State House Nairobi.

Addressing the press at Parliament buildings, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny said MPs from the North Rift have rejected the set price, and that they expected the price not to be below Kshs 3,600. “I’m telling the President, maybe the government doesn’t have sufficient money and some stakeholders are giving you different advice, but he should know that the farmers will suffer because of this price,” said Kutuny.

He urged farmers to stand firm, saying they shouldn’t sell their maize to NCPB, “The government has said that NCPB stores are open and they can take their maize, however we urge them not to take their maize, stand strong till the government gives a good price,” he said, “We’ll continue pushing till the right of the farmer is considered.” The Cherangany MP distanced himself from claims that he is among people who are trying to revive Deputy President William Ruto’s ICC case and said that the maize issues aren’t related with the stories being peddled.

On his part, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter said the decision was made without proper consultation, and that some leaders had met the Strategic Food Reserve Fund Chairman Noah Wekesa, and were in agreement he needs to review the process that led to the new pricing of maize bag, “There was no public participation in terms of coming up with Kshs 2300,” said Keter.

He said the issue of food security can’t be addressed unless we promote the farmers who are doing food production within the nation and that the government must promote maize production for it’s the only way of ensuring we have a food sufficient nation. The Nandi Hills MP said the pricing didn’t consider the profits for the farmers, “We believe Kshs 2,300 is the price that meets the cost of production and logistics, it doesn’t look into what farmers expect in terms of profits.” He added that food diversification shouldn’t be the main consideration if farmers still have problems with payment.