Maize prices have started rising after more private millers commenced buying the produce from farmers.
The cost of maize has increased from Sh1,200 to Sh1,800 per 90 kilogramme bag in most parts of the North Rift following entry of more millers and traders in the market to the relief of farmers who have for long suffered low prices for the produce.
The move has triggered increase in maize flour prices with a two kilogramme packet going at Sh85 up from Sh70, putting pressure on most households.
Kitui millers have opened buying centres in Eldoret offering Sh1,700 per 90 Kg bag and making payment on delivery. Unga Limited was buying the crop at Sh1,800 but paying after four days.
“We are better off selling our produce to private millers who pay promptly than to the government where we are not assured on when we will receive the money,” said Francis Kirwa Yator from Moiben, Uasin Gishu County.
Maize prices in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County have increased from 1,200 to Sh1,600 per 90 Kg bag while it is selling at Sh2,400 in Kisumu, a huge increase from the less than Sh1,000 per 90 Kg bag two months ago.
“We expect the prices to improve further as more millers have expressed willingness to buy the produce,” said Hezron Kebenei from Trans-Nzoia County at the Kitui Millers buying centre.
The farmers have criticised the government for setting the buying price at Sh2,300 this season compared to Sh3,200 last season.
“There is no guarantee that the government will pay for the produce despite setting the prices too low as compared to the previous season,” said Jackson Too from Sergoit, Uasin Gishu County.
The National Cereals and Produce Board NCPB) management maintained that it has not received approval to buy the maize from farmers allowing middlemen a chance to exploit farmers by offering low prices.
“We are still waiting directive from the government on when to start buying maize from farmers and at what price,” disclosed Titus Maiyo, the NCPB Corporate affairs manager.
The board, he said has been holding series of sensitization seminars for its staff across the country in preparation to buy maize from farmers.