Senator urges Koskei’s sacking over maize pricing

West Pokot senator John Lonyangapuo wants Agriculture secretary Felix Koskei sacked for allegedly giving maize farmers a raw deal by setting the price at which the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is to buy the commodity at Sh2,300 a bag.

Speaking in Trans Nzoia last week, Prof Lonyangapuo said Mr Koskei had not served the interests of farmers since taking over at the Agriculture ministry.

“If he fails to resign, then we want the President to sack him because he seems to have no interest of the Kenyan farmer at heart,” he said during a brief to journalists in Kitale last week.

The senator accused the minister of relying on cheap maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania instead of promoting local production.

“It is now clear that Mr Koskei is a procurement specialist who is killing the country’s livelihood, which is dependent on maize farming, while profiting those from neighbouring countries,” he said.

Prof Lonyangapuo wondered how NCPB depots became fully stocked all of a sudden yet the country was relying on donors for relief food to feed locals from Turkana and West Pokot counties who were hit by famine.

“It is annoying that top government officials have been working with unscrupulous traders to saturate NCPB depots with cheap, genetically modified maize from Uganda,” said the senator.

He said the Sh2,300 per 90-kg bag price announced last week by the Cabinet secretary was an insult to maize farmers who incurred high expenses in production of the grain.

“The average cost of producing maize per acre in North Rift is Sh50,000. A farmer will make Sh44,000 if he sells his produce from the same piece of land to the government, which is a loss,” said the senator.

Effort to raise Mr Koskei on phone was unsuccessful by the time of going to press.