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Commodities

Wheat farmers demand better prices

Farmers are demanding higher prices for their
Farmers are demanding higher prices for their wheat as harvesting begins in some parts of the country with millers offering Sh3,250 for a 90 kilogramme bag. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Farmers are demanding higher prices for their wheat as harvesting begins in some parts of the country with millers offering Sh3,250 for a 90 kilogramme bag.

The growers argue that they need at least Sh3,500 for a bag to break even.

The chairman of the Cereal Growers Association (CGA) Farnie Kruger said wheat production had become expensive therefore farmers are justified to press for better earning.

“Wheat harvesting has started and the product is currently being bought at Sh3,250 per bag by millers, the ideal prices that farmers would want is Sh3,500,” said Mr Kruger.

Millers have always differed with farmers when it comes to pricing. Whereas farmers want higher returns for their commodity, millers offer what they think is appropriate.

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This has in the past seen millers opt for imports, arguing they are cheaper when compared with local produce. However, the government came up with a new rule that requires processors to exhaust the local crop before being allowed to bring in imports.

“The programme is working well and even this year millers will be required to purchase the local produce before they are allowed to import,” said Mr Kruger.

Under the programme, each miller is issued with a quota for local crop basing on their milling capacity. Once they clear their share of domestic crop, they are then issued with import permits.

The government has also been fixing the cost at which millers have been buying wheat under this programme.

Millers however want the government to stop fixing the price and instead subsidise farmers through inputs and let the buying price be determined by the market forces.

The price of imported wheat is at the moment going at Sh3,250, at par with what millers are buying locally.

It has been projected that farmers will harvest three million bags, which is a slight improvement compared with what was harvested last year.

Kenya is a net importer of wheat, bringing in two-thirds of its requirement to meet the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against local production of 350,000 tonnes.

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