MPs demand clarification on price of maize

Wednesday March 18 2020
maize-pic

A man packs dried maize in bags. Two Rift Valley legislators have asked Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri to clarify the price of a 90kg bag of maize, following confusion on the matter Tuesday. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SAMWEL OWINO

Two Rift Valley legislators have asked Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri to clarify the price of a 90kg bag of maize, following confusion on the matter Tuesday.

MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Silas Tiren (Moiben) said they woke up Tuesday to news in one of the newspapers that the price of maize had increased from Sh2,300 to Sh3,000, only for the story to be denied by the ministry.

“Later in the day, we heard the ministry issuing another statement on the price of maize, dissociating itself from the earlier reports. We want CS Kiunjuri to clarify this so that farmers are not left confused,” said Mr Keter.

NEW PRICE

Agriculture and Research Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga was quoted in one of the newspapers on Monday as saying that the government would buy maize from farmers at Sh3,000, but he later distanced himself from the report.

Addressing the press at Parliament Buildings Tuesday, the two MPs said the PS's about-turn was sad news to farmers, whose hopes had been raised even though it was not the price they were asking for.

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“Farmers were happy that at least they have got something for Christmas but now they are back to square one. It is really a sad day for farmers,” Mr Keter said.

CARTELS

The two MPs claimed that the Agriculture ministry is hostage to cartels, who do not want farmers to benefit.

“The cartels are really determined to see farmers suffering by setting low prices,” Mr Keter said.

Meanwhile, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, in a statement, said his fight alongside farmers to push the government for better prices continues.

“Our position on the purchase price of Sh3,600 per 90kg bag stands. Our farmers have harvested a lot of maize this season and I am calling on the concerned agencies to consider reviewing the quantity of maize they intend to buy from farmers,” said Mr Kutuny.

Last week, Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur told maize farmers not to expect any other price, saying Sh2,300 had already been approved by the Cabinet and cannot be changed.

“My hands are tied. We cannot change the prices now,” Mr Tuimur told the Agriculture committee chaired by Mandera South MP Adan Haji.