, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Agriculture Cabinet Felix Koskei says the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is set to buy maize from farmers according to a directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The president had on Monday directed the NCPB to start buying maize from farmers to alleviate their financial burden.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Koskei said the NCPB will buy a 90 kilogram bag of maize at Sh2,200.
“This is according to the analysis done on cost of production in major maize growing counties of Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia indicates that the cost of producing one bag of maize varies from Sh1,400 to Sh1,800, “Koskei said.
Koskei has called on the county governments to prepare themselves to take responsibility for maize in their counties by preparing to buy maize from farmers, after factoring in the funds for farm input.
“County Governments should invest in storage and drying facilities to reduce post harvest losses. It’s therefore important to establish buying centers near the farmers to minimize transportation costs by farmers and also lock out the brokers,” he said.
He also urged County Governments to assist farmers to come up with a strategy and mechanism of vetting players in the maize value chain to determine genuine farmers.
“Moving forward, the County Governments should take up their responsibilities as per the fourth schedule of the Constitution without waiting for the National Government to intervene,” he stated.
Koskei said the government plans to roll out an insurance scheme for crop and livestock in 2015 in a bid to caution farmers from poor weather conditions.
He urged millers to bring down the cost of maize below Sh80 since the cost of maize has reduced by 40 percent as well as the drastic reduction in cost of electricity.
Koskei also urged Agriculture Fisheries and Food Authority to start registering and licensing dealers in the sector in bid to regulate the sector.
He also urged Competition Authority of Kenya to study the maize value chain and supply value chain to ensure fair trade and eliminate malpractices.
Kenya’s maize production for 2014 is estimated at 40.3 million bags compared to 38.9 million the previous year.