The prevailing high prices of maize have seen farmers sell their harvest directly to consumers, bypassing the warehouses storage where they could store their produce as they await for prices to stabilise.
Warehouse Receipt System Council (WRSC) chairperson Jane Ngigi said they have been unable to stock the grain for growers in the ongoing season because of the existing high prices in the market.
“It is the first time that the price of maize has hit a high of Sh5,000 at the farm gate and this has seen farmers avoid storing their commodity as they seek to enjoy the prevailing prices in the market,” said Ms Ngigi.
She said there is high demand for the grain right now a move that has pushed up the price to historic highs.
Ms Ngigi was speaking during the launch of Warehouse Receipt System Council strategic plan, which among other things, aims to promote the development of a national network of warehouses with capacity to issue warehouse receipts, transfer of relevant knowledge and skills to stakeholders, increase reliability of the agency’s operations performance and strengthen internal controls, risk management and governance.
The official said they would now focus on other commodities that have also been adopted for participation under the warehouse receipt system that include potatoes, legumes (beans and green grams) and coffee.
“For now we can focus on these commodities, which have also been prioritised under the WRS as we wait for normalization of the maize crop,” Ms Ngigi said.
Under the WRS, farmers can store their proeuce at certified stores as they wait for the prices to swing in their favour.
They are then issued with receipts that they can cash at the financial institutions participating in the programme.
WRS opened its stores a fortnight ago to allow farmers to store their produce under safe conditions as they wait for better prices other than selling it at throw away returns to middlemen.
The high prices come at a time when the country’s breadbasket of North Rift is harvesting this year’s main crop, with millers warning the cost of flour will rise to Sh230 for a two kilogramme packet if the current buying prices persist.