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Government moves to pay outstanding debt for maize farmers

maize harvesting

Maize farmers across the country will start receiving payments for outstanding arrears on the produce that was delivered to the National Cereals and Produce Board depots in various towns such as Eldoret and Nakuru for the 2017 harvest season.

The National Treasury headed by Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the government has released the money and is currently at the agriculture ministry.

The farmers mostly from Kenya’s bread basket of the North Rift region had supplied more than 3.8m bags of maize to NCPB worth five billion shillings.

This year, NCPB paid farmers Sh3200 per a 90kg bag of maize up from Sh3,000 in 2017.

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“Most of the farmers in Uasin Gishu and Nandi have reduced the number of acreage of maize by half due to delay in payments and this may cut maize production this year by 30 per cent,” said Kipkorir Menjo, the Director, Kenya Farmers Association, Eldoret.

In 2017, Kenya’s maize production declined due to drought and fall armyworm invasion which was detected across 27 counties resulting in losses of up to $120m according to the United States department of agriculture.

The country produced 35.2m bags in the 2015/16 season down from 37.1m bags in the 2016/17 planting season.

A maize farmer harvesting his produce in the past. Photo: courtesy

In this, Uasin Gishu, maize production from 4.4m bags recorded in 2016 to 3.7m bags last year representing a 25 per cent drop occasioned by outbreak of fall armyworm and maize smut disease.

In Trans Nzoia, the production plummeted from five million bags in 2016 to 4.7m bags in 2017.

Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties combined produce over 40 per cent of Kenya’s total maize production and are thus considered the country’s grain baskets.

According to the ministry of agriculture, Kenya consumes at least three million bags of maize monthly with approximately 70 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture.

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