Farmers sell off maize in Migori over election anxiety

Anxiety over the October 26 re-peat Presidential election is forcing farmers in Migori to sell off

their maize at a loss.

The farmers’ need of capital to tender their already germinating farms this season is also exposing them to losses as they rush to sell to middlemen offering lower prices.

I do not want to incur losses as experienced in the 2013 General Election when my stores were broken into and bags of maize worth millions of shillings carted away by hooligans, said Mr. Gibore Mwita, who has sold most of his grains to avert losses in the event of chaos after October 26 repeat polls.

Most middlemen in the area, particularly from Kuria region are offering between Sh2,000 and Sh2,600 per 90kg bag of maize, which the farmers consider too low to break even and invest properly in the next crop.

A farmer in Oyani area bordering Trans Mara in Narok County Mr. Joel Nandiga says the low prices offered by middle men and millers is rendering agriculture a non-profit-making venture, considering that they invest a lot of capital in anticipation of better returns.

Meanwhile, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has not been enthusiastic in purchasing maize apparently lacking funds to do so.

A spot-check by KNA at various NCPB depots in Kehancha, Ntimaru, Migori and Awendo revealed less activities on maize purchases even as farmers confirmed holding thousands of bags of the crops in their stores.

A senior official at the Migori depot who refused to be named said however that plans were on to purchase the farmers’ crops but could not divulge when and at what price.

In the past seasons, the government through NCPB has been buying a 90 bag of the crop at Sh3, 200, which was better than what the middlemen were offering.

Maize production in the region generally dropped to its lowest ebb ever, following the attack on the crop by the highly destructive army worms.

Source: Kenya News Agency