Brokers have been dealt a big blow after the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) announced it will start to buy green grams (ndengu) from farmers in Mwingi, Kitui County.
Mwingi NCPB manager Gideon Ntoribi on Wednesday said the exercise will kick off in a month’s time a move he said will save farmers from unscrupulous brokers who are buying the county’s cash crop at throw away prices.
Mr Ntoribi said that the board is targeting to purchase about 15,000 bags of 90 kilograms of the produce at a price of between Sh60 and 65 per Kilogram.
“We are just waiting for directives from the headquarter and within a month we will start purchasing the produce,” he said.
The announcement came even as ministry of agriculture officials complained of “enormous exploitation” of farmers by brokers.
The officials said the farmers are selling their crops at extremely low prices.
A spot check by the Nation at various markets established the prices were as low as Sh40.
Mwingi Central Agricultural Officer Samuel Kamau said the ministry might be unable to tame the middlemen since the farmers are adamant to heed to their advisory.
“The brokers cannot be curtailed but we are doing our best to sensitise the farmers on why they should keep their farm produce until the market prices are favorable to them,” he said.
“Due to poverty, the farmers argue that they sell the crops in order to pay school fees for their children,” Mr Kamau added.
The farmers lack collective bargaining power as they have no cooperative societies to help champion their business interests.