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July 22, 2008

In-country relief food purchases to motivate Kenyan farmers

Kenya's agriculture minister William Ruto has disclosed plans by the World Food Programme to purchase 10 million bags of maize in the country annually. He said this will motivate farmers to invest in maize production as it would assure them of a market for their crop.

“Maize farmers should be assured of a market following the move by WFP to purchase the produce and attractive prices offered by the Government through the National Cereals and Produce Board,” said the minister.

He said NCPB will purchase this season’s maize produce at Sh1,700 up from Sh1,350 which the farmers had termed as being too low. (1US$=67.5KSh)

Farmers in the North Rift region, the country’s grain basket have decried the high cost of farm inputs which has resulted in a decline in crop production this season. The farmers said the increased cost of fertiliser to Sh4,000 up from Sh2,400 last season and the skyrocketing fuel prices of fuel was rendering agriculture a non-profit making venture.

“The Government should re-introduce such incentives like the guaranteed minimum return to cushion farmers against losses in case of natural calamities,” said Isaac Kibogy, a farmer from Sergoit area of Uasin Gishu district.

Uasin Gishu District is expected to experience a declined maize production from 5.3 million bags last season to 4.7 million bags this year due to the increased cost of farm inputs.

Daily Nation

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