Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi
Maize farmers in Uasin Gishu county want the government to hasten the process of delivering subsidised farm inputs to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores ahead of planting season.
They expressed fear that the delay by the government to avail enough subsidised fertilizer at the stores could derail efforts to ensure food security, one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four pillars agenda.
Speaking at Teachers Advisory Centre in Eldoret town through Kenya Farmers Federation Uasin Gishu branch chairperson Musa Barno said the shortage of the farm input has affected both small and large scale farmers. Uasin Gishu Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno and ministry of Agriculture officials led by Eliud Mathu, the Assistant director in Agriculture ministry attended the meeting.
The farmers who were drawn from six-sub counties asked the government to release the inputs soon because the rains had set in. Barno said it will be unfair for the government to engage them on ways to realise food security and yet they are faced with myriad of problems in the agriculture sector.
“When Cabinet secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri was in Eldoret recently, we were promised many things including availability of Sh1 billion to pay farmers for maize delivered in December but that has not been realised,” he said.
The farmers put to task the ministry officials to explain why the promises that were made by government are taking too long to be fulfilled and planting season is set to begin end of this month. Subsidised fertiliser currently costs Sh1,500 while the ordinary price in the market is at Sh3,000 per bag.
However, Mathu said farmers will have to share the available fertiliser as the government works out on plans to avail more consignment of the farm inputs ahead of planting season.