Vihiga County is one of the most densely populated Counties in the country with 1000 people per square Kilometre, according to the 2019 national census. With such statistics, it means locals possess small parcels of land that cannot allow them to venture into large scale farming.
Mostly, the County depends on food such as maize, vegetables and milk from the neighboring Counties such as Nandi, Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu.
The County has only two National Cereals and Produce Board deports one at Hamisi Sub County and the other one at Sabatia Sub County.
Locals from Emuhaya and Luanda Sub counties depend on the one at Sabatia in Chavakali, but they complain about the distance and on several occasioned have petitioned the government through the Ministry of Agriculture to set one at Luanda market.
A 40kg bag at both deports goes for Kshs 3200, but it seems the locals prefer buying from middle men, who without knowledge, are overcharging them.
Middle men in most of the markets across the County sell one bag at Ksh 3600, while a 2kg of maize goes at Kshs 80. Locals in the region have been exploited by middle men for a long time over their ignorance.
But those in the business have always defended their action saying its expensive transporting the commodity.“ We sometime travel to the Uganda to get this commodity, and the mode of transportation is expensive, but in business no one wants to incur losses,” one of the traders said.
To curb the exploitation from the middle men and shortage of food, the residents have been urged to embrace agri-business and stop depending on ugali only as a staple food.
County Executive Member (CEC) in the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Pamela Kimwele said the Ministry has on several platforms advised locals to ditch maize farming and embrace planting other crops.
“We want them to go into agribusiness, it’s the only form of agriculture that we elevate locals from poverty and make this County be food secure,” Kimwele added.
She said the Ministry has invested heavily on field extension officers who have received massive training in their area of specialization, to go out to the farmers and teach them how to go on agribusiness. “We want them to go into bee keeping, local vegetable farming and many more. This will help them grow financially,” she said.