Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi
North Rift maize farmers have urged the government to investigate unscrupulous traders behind cheap imports of the produce from a neighbouring country. They claimed most of the maize being delivered to the National Cereals and Produce Board Eldoret depot was hoarded and not from local farmers.
The farmers drawn from Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and Trans Nzoia counties spoke at the Teachers Advisory Centre (TAC) on Tuesday during a stakeholders forum which focused on the challenges facing the sector.
Led by Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo, they said: “Local farmers are unable to deliver their produce to the cereals board depot because cheap imports have flooded the market and found their way to the NCPB Eldoret depot.”
Menjo asked the government to fast track the process of receiving maize at the depot to cushion farmers from unnecessary expenses incurred while waiting in queues such as daily payments to drivers and farmhands.
Block middle men During the six-hour meeting, the farmers resolved to sell their produce through registered cooperative societies as part of measures to block middlemen from exploiting them during harvesting seasons.
This came after it was revealed that brokers are taking advantage of farmers by buying their maize at Sh2,800 and selling it to NCPB at Sh3,200.
The brokers, it was claimed, are targeting small-scale farmers, who are unable to transport their produce from stores to various depots in the region. The government is offering farmers Sh3,200 per 90 kilogramme bag of maize delivered at the NCPB depots in the country.