The government has announced plans to buy one million bags of maize from farmers, for 4,000 shillings per 90-kilogram bag.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Lintur was speaking on Thursday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, highlighted that the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will be responsible for procuring the maize for the National Strategic Food Reserve.
Additionally, Linturi said only registered farmers will benefit from the plan which will start from the second week of November. He said that the government has already purchased mobile dryers to aid farmers in the drying process of their grains before government procurement.
“The mobile dryers will enable farmers to preserve the quality of their maize and increase their income. This is a significant development, as post-harvest losses have been a major challenge for farmers in the past,” said Linturi.
He further assured the Committee, chaired by Kirinyaga County Senator James Murango, that his ministry is actively tackling the issues surrounding macadamia nut production and marketing, with the ultimate goal of making the sub-sector more profitable.
“We are exploring international markets in a bid to ensure our farmers benefit from the macadamia sub-sector. My Ministry is committed to making the country food secure through improved food production and better earnings for all farmers,” added the CS.
The announcement comes just days after President William Ruto banned the importation of wheat and maize, in a move aimed at protecting local farmers and stabilizing prices.
According to President Ruto, the government will allocate Ksh.4 billion to buy maize from farmers, stating; “We ask our farmers not to sell their produce at throw-away prices.”
Ruto announced that NCPB driers will be used to dry farmers’ maize at a minimal fee of Ksh.50 in a bid to reduce post-harvest losses over high moisture down from the current Ksh.400 per bag.
“Even if farmers don’t want to sell their maize to NCPB, they will have an opportunity to dry their produce at the State agency and store it,” Ruto said then.