The Star (Nairobi)

27 August 2014

Kenya: Imports Affect Maize Prices in Rift Valley

Maize prices in parts of Rift Valley have dropped by more than 40 per cent due to flooding by imports from neighbouring countries.

Maize millers in the region are now offering maize traders a price of not more than Sh2,000 per 90 kilo bag down from Sh3,300 a month ago.

Yesterday traders who supply maize to Unga Millers protested after the company refused to increase the maize prices.

"We are shocked at the drop in prices and this is a total loss which we didn't anticipate at this time," said Paul Malut.

The traders said they had bought the maize from farmers at higher prices last month and would incur huge losses with the revised prices being offered by millers.

The traders met with the Uasin Gishu county executive for agriculture Ambrose Cheruiyot and Kenya farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo.

Menjo said the pricecut will affect farmers who are about to start harvesting this year's crop.

"It will be a shock to the farmers. Some of them in the South Rift region are almost starting to harvest yet the maize prices are dropping alarmingly," said Menjo.

The maize imports from mainly Uganda and Tanzania have flooded the markets in Eldoret, Kitale and other towns in Western Kenya.

Cheruiyot said the county government was liasing with the ministry of agriculture to implement measures that would help reduce costs of production for farmers.

The two official said the farmers should explore ways of engaging in value addition so that they can earn more from agricultural activities.

"When the farmers keep on selling raw maize, they diminish their chances of earning more. Its time the farmers invest in value addition so that they can directly get into the markets with finished products and earn more," said Menjo.

Cheruiyot said the county was working out policies that would help farmers engage in value addition and exports. He said farmers in the region must also diversify their activities and stop relying on cereals.

Farmers, he said should explore horticulture and floriculture which are more profitable

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