Uhuru raises maize price to Sh2,500 a bag

Workers harvest maize
Workers harvest maize in Uasin Gishu. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has increased the price at which the government will buy maize from farmers by Sh200 a bag amid protests from farmers.

Mr Kenyatta Wednesday directed the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to buy maize at Sh2,500 per bag, up from Sh2,300 set by the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF) in November.

The government has also reduced the amount of maize it will buy to two million bags, down from 2.5 million announced in November. Farmers and lawmakers from the Rift Valley have put pressure on the government to match the Sh3,200 price offered to growers for the 2017 crop.

Mr Kenyatta ordered that 1.7 million bags from the 2017 crop be release to the market at Sh1,600. The move comes amid revelations that at least 1.8 million bags in the strategic food reserve are unfit for both human and animal consumption.

“With these interventions, I do not expect any changes in the existing price of unga (flour). It is clear that there is sufficient maize in the market selling at between Sh1,700 and Sh1,800 per bag,” Mr Kenyatta said. The lower maize price is due to a bumper harvest with production hitting 46 million bags.