Uasin Gishu county government is set to construct a multi-million maize milling plant in a bid to provide alternative market to farmers struggling to sell their grains to the National Cereals and Produce Board.
County Executive for Cooperatives and Enterprise Esther Mutai said the devolved unit has set aside Sh230 million for the project to be completed before the end of the current financial year.
She said on Thursday that the funds for construction is a loan by the county government to farmers where the county will make deductions whenever farmers make deliveries until they own the plant.
“The county has given us Sh230 million for the construction of the milling plant and it is a loan to the farmers. What we are currently doing is engaging the farmers through their cooperatives to agree on its location but we had proposed an area with a lot of maize in the larger Uasin Gishu County,” said Ms Mutai.
She said the project will tackle the perennial challenges facing the farmers who have rationally relied solely on NCPB for sale of their grain.
'When farmers through their cooperatives own a milling plant, they can compete with other producers and realise better returns,' she added.
The construction is expected to start before the end of the year and is expected to be completed by June 2019.
The project comes at a time when most farmers in region are crying foul over exploitation by private millers whom they say pay little for their maize.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula has however maintained that grain farmers have been suffering because of continued importation of maize. He disclosed his intention to sponsor a Bill to curb importation arguing that local farmers produce was enough for the country.
“We want our maize farmers to be given Sh2.5 billion to buy fertilizer just like their counterparts in the coffee sector were given recently,” he said.