Farmers are set to reap big after the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) set the stage for competition for maize in the market with a price review that has pushed the cost of a 90-kilogram bag from 2,500 shillings to 2,700 shillings.
NCPB made the reviews after it failed to get farmers to sell their produce three weeks after opening their depots. According to reports, the board had only managed to buy slightly above 2000 bags as at the end of the January 11 to January 15 week.
According to a statement issued by the state agency, prices were reviewed upwards from 2,500 shillings per 90-kilogram bag to 2,700 shillings on the same unit
“NCPB has reviewed its maize purchases prices upwards for a 90-kilo bag to Sh2,700 from Sh2,500. We urge all farmers with maize that meet the required quality standards to deliver their grain,” said the agency.
Last year December, the board opened its doors for supplies, after failing to purchase maize in 2019 from growers. However, unlike other years, the grain handler is buying maize for its commercial purposes and not for Strategic Grain Reserve (SFR) as has been the case before.
The decision by the government is also reported to have been influenced by the competitive prices offered by millers in the country who are reportedly buying a 90 kg bag of maize for 2,600 shillings
NCPB assured that all payments for maize bought would be processed within 24 hours, to ensure smooth and mutual business transactions between the farmers and the state agency.
“We are therefore encouraging farmers to bring in their maize to NCPB and get value for their crop,” said the MD
The board is buying maize under its commercial wing for trading alongside other grains such as rice and beans.
Previously, the government only acquired maize through NCPB for the Strategic Grain Reserve only, with the aim of having at least three million bags for use in case of emergencies such as famine.
Maize prices vary from across the country according to records from the Ministry of Agriculture, with the price in some counties higher than that in others.
As of December 30th, In Bungoma County, a 2-kilogram tin was going for 70 shillings in various towns, up from 50 shillings in November. The 90-kilogram bag is at 2,800 shillings from an average of 2,000 shillings.
In Kitale, the price of maize was a bit lower. A 90-kilogram bag was going for an average of 2,500 and 2,600 shillings. A 2-kilogram tin was going for 60 shillings.
Eldoret had the lowest prices compared to major towns in Kenya. The 90-kilogram bag was retailing at 2,400 shillings. Some farmers were selling it for as low as 2,200 shillings.