Maize prices have continued to drop in most parts of the county as the government remains silent on minimum prices.
Earlier, the government had promised to announce producer prices, but until now, nothing has happened, making farmers’ patience run out, with traders flocking to the market offering throwaway prices at the farm gate.
The maize price for a 2kg tin is selling at 90 shillings in Tongaren, Bungoma County, down from 200 shillings three months ago. Many farmers in the County are currently harvesting their produce. In most parts of Bungoma, the price for a 2-kilogram tin ranges between 90 and 100 shillings.
In Kakamega, a 2-kilogram tin is going for 120 shillings. This is the highest price in Western Kenya right now. The prices are the lowest in Trans-Nzoia (Kiminini, Kitale) at between 70 and 80 shillings per 20-kilogram tin.
Middlemen are offering prices ranging between 3,900 and 4000 shillings per 90-kilogram bag, noting that the prices could have stabilized if the government had set current season producer prices.
However, traders are skeptical about the sustainability of supply arguing that prices of farm outputs might rise again because, in some parts of the county, crops have dried up on farms before maturing due to a lack of rain.
Farmers were anticipating a good harvest this season because the government provided subsidized fertilizers on time, but unfortunately, in some parts of the county, crops dried up on the farm due to a lack of rain.
This month, the Principal Secretary State Department for Crops in the Ministry of Agriculture Kello Harsama reassured farmers that the government would announce maize producer prices within the week.
Mr. Harsama, who has since been moved to the Asal and Regional Development Ministry, had promised NCPB stores would open their doors to receive supplies once the producer price is declared.
“Farmers should be on standby because any time, the price will be announced. The government will factor in operation and input costs before determining a price to ensure producers earn good returns,” said Harsama.
In August, President William Ruto reassured Kenyans that food prices have begun to decrease following a looming bumper harvest that is expected this year, thanks to the fertilizer subsidy program.
The president was speaking to Kiambu residents lauding the government’s intervention that saw fertilizer prices fall from Sh7,000 to 3,500, farmers from across the country cultivated 200, 000 more acres which he says has led to improved food production.
The president consequently revealed that his administration was working to increase fertilizer distribution in the country from the current 3.5 million bags to 6.5 million by next year. He, therefore, urged farmers throughout the country who have yet to register for the program to do so to benefit from it.