9 November 2012

Kenya: Maize Prices Drop to Sh2,200, State Blames Cartels

Maize prices have dropped in most parts of the Rift Valley. The prices of maize is between Sh2,200 and Sh2,400 per 90 kilogramme bag in parts of Eldoret, Kitale and Lugari.

This follows a decision by the government to cut the prices at the National Cereals and Produce Board from Sh3,000 to Sh2,800.

Minister for Agriculture Sally Kosgei said cutting the prices was ill-advised. She said she will meet NCPB officials over the issue.

Kosgei was speaking to elders at a meeting at Kenmosa in Eldoret town. She blamed cartels for the price woes. Kosgei said these cartels interfere with polices to support farmers and have flooded the market with maize imports from Uganda pushing the prices down.

Farmer demonstrated in Eldoret on Friday against the price cut by NCPB. They have demanded to meet Kosgei following a deadlock at a meeting with NCPB officials.

NCPB managing director Gideon Misoi met the farmers representatives in Eldoret but refused to increase the maize prices because the move has to be approved by the government.

He however told the representatives that he will consult the government on the farmers' demands. "We still stand by our demand that the maize prices have to be increased by NCPB which is supposed to help in regulating the prices.

We have clearly told the board our demand", said director of the Kenya Farmers Association Kipkorir Menjo.

He said they agreed to meet Misoi and Kosgei to find a solution. NCPB plans to educate farmers on the need to maximise production on their farms and apply modern market strategies in order to help control maize prices.

The board wants farmers to adopt the Warehouse Receipting System.

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