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    Maize green Osman Jumbe Mombasa ASK by Laban Robert.JPG

    Olerai Seeds Company Limited sales representative checks a maize cob for maturity during the 2016 ASK Show in Mombasa. Green maize price has triples in Mombasa. Photo by Laban Robert.

    The cost of green maize in Mombasa has tripled as the shortage for the country's staple food spreads due to the ongoing.

    Zacchary Masing’a, a maize trader at the Kongowea Market in Mombasa, said the price has risen up by more than three times in the past seven months.

    A 115kg bag filled with maize is bought at an average of Sh5,800 though at times it fluctuates between Sh5,700 and Sh6,000 depending on the supply per day.

    The cost of maize, which is the country’s staple food, has tripled since November 2016. This is attributed to low rainfall in the country, affecting even food-rich counties in the Rift valley region.

    Mombasa County neighbours Kilifi, and Kwale Counties, which have been hit by the ongoing famine alongside Tana River and Taita-Taveta.

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    READ ALSO: Farmer earns more from green maize than grains

    More than 90 per cent of the farm produce is ‘imported’ from up country and Tanzania.

    The price in Mombasa is thrice what wholesalers in Nakuru are paying for the same quantity of maize- Sh1,800.

    Masinga said when the maize in plenty, more so in the Rift Valley, the same quantity costs less than Sh1,000.

    Green maize is boiled or roasted for sale in the market streets and along the roads of major towns in the country. Roast maize, which costs Sh20 is retailing at between Sh10 and Sh40. A piece that was sold for Sh5 is costing Sh10, Masing'a said.

    But more others buy the fresh produce for mixing with beans for a delicacy commonly called pure in Swahili, githeri in Kikuyu, Nyoyo in Dholuo, eyoyo in Ekegusii among other names.

    According to Soko+, an online agribusiness pricelist source, a 115kg of green maize costs Sh2,260 in Nairobi, Sh2,520 in Kisumu and Sh2160 in Eldoret.

    The few farmers who are producing the available maize in the various part of the country including central Kenya are relying on irrigation.

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    Eggs Nakuru Laban Robert By Mary Njeri.JPG

    Farm Biz Africa Reporter Laban Robert posses with eggs being packed into an incubator in Nakuru on February 17, 2017. Fertilised eggs earn farmers more. Photo by Mary Njeri. 

    Farmers selling fertilised eggs are making almost three times more income than those relying on pure breed laying for direct consumption.

    Eggs for consumption as food on average cost Sh300 per tray. But fertilised eggs for incubation are costing as high as Sh800 per tray in with the dual purpose kuroiler fetching the highest.

    According to SokoPepe, an online marketplace, a tray of eggs in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret,  Malindi, among others costs between Sh280 and Sh350; Kisumu and Malindi being  the lowest and highest respectively.

    Farmer Edwin Ayeicha attributes the sharp rise of the price to the fewer farmers producing fertilised eggs for the booming chicks hatching agribusiness than those for food.

    “Others consider a cock as an extra cost that needs to be replaced by a hen, which lays daily. More focus has gone to eggs for food instead of eggs for hatching. That what is causing the imbalance, therefore, the rise in price,” the Nyamira County farmer said.

     The Nyakwerema Village farmer sells kienyeji eggs at Sh15 each. This translates to Sh450 per tray. But for kuroiler, every egg costs Sh25 and therefore, a tray earns Sh750.

    Kuroiler and Rhodes island red eggs cost Sh800 per tray in Nakuru County, the same price in most parts of central Kenya region.

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    A tray of kenbro and rainbow Rooster breed fertilised eggs earns the farmers Sh650 while Kari and pure kienyeji bring in Sh750 and 550 respectively.

    A tray of fertilised kuroiler or Rhodes red eggs selling at Sh800 is 168 per cent higher than that of layers

    One cock sufficiently serves between eight and 12 chickens.  The market for pure layers is rising, but the dual purpose chickens is also picking because of the double benefits.

    To increase chances of hatching, an egg has to be fresh- less than seven days old.

    Eggs stored in closed buckets are also likely to have a low hatching percentage resulting from ‘suffocation’ due to the enclosure.

    Dirty eggs too, however fresh, have limited hatching ability because of the particles are blocking entry of fresh air for the life of the living cells.

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