1 December 2012

Kenya: Meru Cereal Farmers Earn Sh38 Million

Cereal farmers in Meru earned Sh38 million from the sale of green grams last harvesting season.

National Cereals and Produce Board managing director Gedion Misoi said farmers sold 6,000 bags of the grains. A kilo of the green grams was being sold at between Sh70 and Sh80.

Misoi, however, said the instability in the market caused price fluctuations, adding that the board did not sell grain in Somalia because of insecurity.

Speaking to farmers at the Meru NCPB depot, Misoi said the government's fertiliser subsidy had boosted cereals output in the region. He urged farmers to partner with the government to ensure food security in the country.

"There is no mischief with entering into business agreements with the government unlike brokers who exploit farmers for the sake of maximising their profits. We would like to deal directly with farmers," he said.

Misoi said the board will open more cereal buying centres in rural areas to avoid the exploitation of farmers by middlemen. He urged farmers to embrace the modern storage technologies saying the three-year-old Warehouse Receipting System had reduced post-harvest losses and enhanced the quality of cereals competitive to both the local and regional markets.

The MD promised government commitment in supplying the government fertilizer saying over 800,000 bags of different kinds of planting and topdressing had been supplied to the region this year.

He urged farmers to report any cases of traders dealing in the fertilizer maintaining the farm input was strictly meant for farmers. "Any trader found selling subsidized government fertilizer will be prosecuted," he warned.

Cheques worth Sh14 million were presented to the farmers who missed out in the first tranche of payments of Sh24 million. Meanwhile farmers have urged the government to be prompt in making payments saying they depended on farming to pay fees for their school going children. They also wanted driers supplied to be fully operational before the next harvesting sets in.

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