Small-scale farmers protest poor prices for their produce

Small-scale farmers in Mau-Narok area in Narok North have decried lack of marketing channels for their produce in the county.

The farmers said lack of market for their produce was forcing them to sell their produce to brokers at throw-away prices.

Speaking to the press in Narok town on Friday,over 3,000 maize and wheat farmers drawn from Enbabelbel, Oloropil and Olkurto stated that the high cost of farm implements and transportation of the produce, coupled with lack of reliable market, were major hindrances to their progress.

The farmers led by David Ole Ikaiyo, Wilson Kishoiyan and Amos Keshe, said that the on-going rains have also pushed the cost of food production high, adding that failure by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to buy their grain was a double-blow.

“Currently, there are only two buyers who are Mombasa Millers and Unga Limited who buy the produce but sometimes when they decline to buy, brokers take advantage and buy the produce at as low as S,500 to 2000 per 90kg bag,” said Ole Ikayo.

They complained that the millers buy the produce at as low as Sh2800 per 90Kg bag, which was too low compared to the cost of production.

The farmers have however called on the county and national government to intervene by ensuring availability of market, and improve on infrastructure.

Contacted for comment, Narok National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPD) Depot Manager Anthony Tanui said the depot has a capacity of 357,000 90kg bags, and was currently holding 200,000.

He said the NCPB is currently not buying from farmers, saying that the board only provides services such as drying, cleaning and storage.

He called on the farmers to store their maize and wheat produce with the NCPD silos, saying this will give them ample time to find better market.

By Mabel Keya-Shikuku

Source: KNA