Trans Nzoia farmers hoarding maize over lack of good prices

Trans Nzoia farmers hoarding maize over lack of good prices

  • The farmers have just had a bumper harvest but they are not getting the return they expect from their grain and this has seen many of them hoard the maize harvest because of poor market prices.
  • Trans Nzoia County, the food basket of the republic, has over the years seen farmers produce an excess of 6 million bags of maize but this year only 5.3 million bags have so far been harvested. 

With drought ravaging parts of the country, farmers in Trans Nzoia County are facing a different problem altogether.

The farmers have just had a bumper harvest but they are not getting the return they expect from their grain and this has seen many of them hoard the maize harvest because of poor market prices.

Somin Ayabei, a maize farmer, says the planting season was tough and that the high cost of fertilizer and other inputs saw him dig deeper into his pockets.

"We used to use two 50-kilogram bags of fertiliser on an acre of land but using a single 50-kg bag is now a problem. Last year I used 300 bags on 10 acres but this year I can only afford 200 bags because of high fertiliser prices," said Ayabei.

Not far from Ayabei’s farm, Francis Muranga’s maize store is full and a look at the piles of sacks here paints a picture of a country with no maize shortage.

He, just like Ayabei, harvested and stored his produce waiting for the prices of maize to shoot up. At the moment, a  90kg sack of maize costs Ksh.5,000.

"We are surprised that some Kenyans are dealing with drought and food shortages while our maize stores are at maximum capacity. Buyers however don't want to buy our maize on grounds that we are selling the grains at an expensive rate. The truth of the matter is that we bought fertiliser at Ksh.6,000 per bag which is high," he said.

Murang'a now says that affordable fertiliser should be availed in good time and with no middlemen between suppliers and farmers.

"We urge the government to release the affordable fertiliser in good time so we can plant maize early next year which we will also sell at a more affordable rate," he said.

Trans Nzoia County, the food basket of the republic, has over the years seen farmers produce an excess of 6 million bags of maize but this year only 5.3 million bags have so far been harvested. 

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Citizen Digital Trans Nzoia County Maize Farming Citizen TV Kenya

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