The Agriculture ministry has said that it will not review the Sh2,300 offered to farmers for a 90 kilo bag of maize despite protest by Parliament.
Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Andrew Tuimur said the ministry will buy maize at the cost set by the strategic food reserve (SFR) and approved by the Cabinet.
“The price has been set and my hands are tied,” Mr Tuimur told the National Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture.
MPs however rejected the response and questioned the rationale behind the reduction of the price from Sh3,200 offered last year. The committee said it would take an independent stand on the price offer.
“We direct you to find money elsewhere in the ministry and allocate the SFR to buy more maize,” Adan Haji, who chairs the committee, said. He said farmers were suffering and had rejected the Sh2,300 price.
“We cannot accept the response from the ministry because it is not satisfactory. What informed the reduction of the price from Sh3,200 to Sh2,300 when the cost of production has gone up?” Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny asked. The Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board said it relied on research from think tank Tegemeo Institute based at Egerton University to lower the price at which the government would buy the grain.
The research indicated that the cost of producing a bag of maize this year stood at Sh1,539.
This informed the board to add a profit margin of 30 per cent on the production cost, value added tax of eight per cent, and Sh176 a bag for unforeseen factors.
Mr Kutuny disputed the claim saying the cost of producing a bag of maize was Sh2,135.