Maize farmers offered Sh3,200 per bag as Govt. extends ban on exports
Small scale maize farmers will have the option of selling their harvest to the government at Sh3,200 per bag once the National Produce and Cereals Board opens its stores next week.
The prices is the highest ever paid by the government marking an increase from last year’s price of Sh3,000 as it seeks to mop up as much maize from the market amid anticipated shortfall.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett on Thursday said market research inclusive of famer mark ups, will see the average price for a 90 kilogram bag of maize retail at Sh3,000, making the government’s offer highly competitive.
The CS was quick to also quick to point out that the ban on maize exports was still in effect, limiting farmers’ options.
“I think that is a very attractive and competitive price we are giving to our farmers,” Mr Bett said.
“As we speak now maize cannot move out of this country. Anybody who is not satisfied with the price we have given, which is based on actual calculation and in all fairness is the best cannot say is taking maize to any other country,” the CS stressed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in January issued a directive banning maize exports a time the country was reeling from drought.
Currently maize farm gate prices are as low as Sh2,200 in parts of Kitale with the government keen to support small scale framers.
The government is anticipating a 4.4 percent drop in maize harvest this year to 37.9 million bags as a result of severe drought and the invasion of the Fall Army worm.
Mr Bett said the government will introduce strict market surveillance to ensure only duly registered farmers benefit from the government offer.
“This price is for farmers. Some businessmen can be funny and try to go to other countries and bring maize to NCPB… I think we are very vigilant on that and we will be putting measures in place, the CS said.
The government plans to monitor the impact of the Sh6 billion maize subsidy program that was set to end this month.
According to the Agriculture CS, the government will continue using available resources to ensure maize flour prices remain stable.
“Even as we end the program, if the price (of maize flour) is going to go to Sh150 (per 2kg packet) the government would rather subsidize even if it means continuous subsidy so that the consumer does not suffer in the process of accessing this main staple,” he said.
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