Maize farmers caution President William Ruto against using low-cost fertilizer to dictate the market price.
Producers of maize in the North Rift have cautioned that President William Ruto’s order to reduce fertilizer prices shouldn’t be used to set grain market prices at the conclusion of the current season.
Due to the high cost of farm inputs incurred during the planting season, the farmers, who will soon be harvesting their crops, want the producer price to be at least Sh5,000 for a 90kg bag.
They claimed they were compelled to pay between Sh6,500 and Sh7,000 for a 50kg bag of fertilizer.
In an effort to reduce production costs and give farmers access to affordable inputs during the brief rainy season, President Ruto announced new fertilizer pricing set at Sh3,500 during his inaugural speech.
Speaking at a Yara Company-organized training seminar on successful farming methods, the farmers claimed that rising maize prices should result in profits and encourage farmers.
A farmer from Kipsangui, Uasin Gishu County named Florence Koros issued a warning that this year’s harvest would be lower than usual because many maize farmers neglected to sow while others had to cut their acreage because the inputs were too expensive.
“We are grateful that the new government has been considerate of the farmer and that come next year, we will be able to plant more acres of maize due to affordable inputs. However, let it be remembered that this year’s production will be expensive because of the troubles the farmers had to experience due to skyrocketing cost of inputs,” said Koros.
Another farmer, Philip Ngetich, said that farmers should be allowed to dictate the market price of maize produce rather than imposing a price on them.
“Maize farmers have been incurring losses to the extent that others felt demotivated and opted to grow other crops. However, maize is still the staple crop in our country and we urge the new government to ensure that come the next planting season, the farmers’ grievances are addressed,” said Ngetich.
Ronald Koech from Trans Nzoia farmers should have a say when it comes to determining the maize market price.
Yara Company manager Abednego Sengwer said that the government should ensure that fertilizer for the next planting season is sourced in good time.