Farmers threaten to ditch maize over prices

Maize farmers in the North Rift have threatened to abandon the crop over high cost of production and poor buying prices.

They said the buying price of Sh2,300 per 90kg bag of maize recently announced by the Government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) was a slap in the face.

The farmers said they had expected their crop to be bought at Sh3,500 per bag.

They are now threatening to reduce the acreage under maize next season while others say they would opt for short season crops like passion fruit, potatoes, tomatoes and even dairy farming, which, according to them, fetch higher returns with less cost of production compared to maize which is Kenya’s staple food

Joseph Yatich, a maize farmer from Chebokokwa village in Elgeyo/Marakwet County, expressed concern that the price announced by the State was too low to sustain farmers in producing more maize or to enable them foot other bills.


“We have been relying on maize farming as a source of income because it is a business enterprise. But the venture is proving to be a loss and we do not see the need of continuing with maize farming,” he noted.

Mr Yatich said they are considering planting others crops or abandoning cereals altogether because the maize sector was becoming an unprofitable venture.

“We have embarked on a mission to educate farmers on the need to diversify their farming investments and not rely on maize because we have been planting it for a long time without any meaningful profit since the cost of production is ever high compared to income,” he said.

Elgeyo/Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos urged the State through NCPB to open up buying centres across maize producing counties in order to cushion farmers from further exploitation.

He said the government should give counties buying rights and use ratios.