North Rift farmers want duty-free maize imports monitored

Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) director Kipkorir Menjo. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) director Kipkorir Menjo. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Cereals farmers in North Rift want government to come up with proper mechanism to monitor white maize imports avoid glut.

The farmers yesterday warned that millers and cartels were likely to take advantage of the open imports window, resulting to drop in market prices ahead of harvesting season of the crop.

“Since most farmers are expected to harvest in the coming weeks, the government needs to assess the amount of deficit to avoid flooding of the grain in the market by importers,” said Kipkorir Menjo, Kenya Farmers Association official.

“As much as the government wants to protect the consumer by making available the grain, it is equally important to protect farmers. Our worry is that there might be glut after harvests which will result in millers buying the grain at a throw-away prices.”

Last season, the government increased the purchasing price of a 90-kilogramme bag of maize from Sh2,300 to Sh3,000.

A fortnight ago, the Treasury extended duty waiver on imported yellow and white maize to increase supply of the staple.

The extension, in a special issue of the gazette notice by Treasury secretary Henry Rotich, will see millers enjoy the duty waiver on white maize imports for three more months.

Yellow maize window will be open for one year.

The waiver on white maize was to end on July 31 but has been extended to September 30.

Erratic weather and fall armyworms that have invaded maize fields, which can cut annual production by 50 per cent, which could worsen the food situation.