Farmer earns more from green maize than grains

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Osmane Jumbe of Olerai Seed Company opens up  green maize at the firm's Mombasa ASK Show demonstration farm on September 3, 2016.  A Bungoma County farmer is making more money in selling green maize. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

In averting post harvest losses resulting from fluctuation of prices, pest invasion and poor storage facilities, one Bungoma farmer is selling maize to brokers at wholesale prices when the produce is still green.

Evans Shikuku said the income margin in selling fresh maize for roasting and boiling can be double given that the grain’s price sometimes falls to below production costs.

From his half an acre of maize in Kamukuywa, the farmer said at one time he harvested 12 bags of 90kg. After selling at Sh2,200 per bag, he made a gross income of Sh26,400.

But selling fresh maize form the same piece in April 2014, 2016, Shikuku earned Sh40,000.

If the he were to sell the maize after harvesting to the National Cereals and Produce Board or local buyers, he could have made no profit this year or recovered production costs.

For Shikuku, there are no costs for harvesting, threshing, winnowing packaging, dusting with pesticides and storage.

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A 90kg bag of maize fetches as low as Sh1,800 in Western and North Rift regions of Kenya after harvesting.  At his Kamukuywa area, a two kilogramme tin is sold as low as 40 as opposed to when the demand is high when they earn more than Sh70 for the same quantity.

Food and Agriculture Organisation says more than 40 per cent of crop losses occur at storage due to pest and poor facilities.

The cost of production of a 90kg bag in Kenya averages between Sh1,900 and Sh2,100 because the fluctuation of the costs of inputs.