Narok County farmers have been asked to deliver wheat to silos and other storage facilities to shield themselves against brokers who are buying the produce at low prices.
County Executive for Trade, Industries, and Cooperatives Development Richard Birir said rains are making it difficult for the more than 3,000 farmers to access markets away from fields.
They are forced to sell their produce to the brokers at a loss because it is also challenging to reduce and maintain low moisture content in wheat in this weather.
“I want to urge farmers to deliver their produce to the various silos in the county. They will be dried to the right moisture content as they wait for the right prices.”
“Mombasa Millers is the main buyer of their produce that is offering fair prices, but it has been overwhelmed,” the executive said.
Middle-men are taking advantage to exploit the farmers who are selling their wheat to meet school fees, fresh cultivation and other costs.
A 90 kg bag is being sold at between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000. Major millers are buying the wheat at a maximum of Sh2,800.
It is estimated that the county produced more than three million bags of wheat in 2015. The yield was almost twice that of 2014, which was 1.8 million.
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Birir said poor road network in hampering transportation of the wheat from major growing areas like Mau Narok.
“It is unfortunate that little can be done to improve the roads at this time when it is raining. But the county has allocated money to the sector and we expect work to start before and after the the April long rains to shield the farmers against future losses,” he said.
The National Cereals and Produce Board is only offering drying, cleaning and storage services in their 357,000-90 bag capacity silos in the county.
Storage per month for every bag costs Sh17 per month while one will pay Sh40 for drying.
Birir blamed the ‘liberal market’ which he said, allows for variable prices, disadvantaging farmers who have shouldered production, transportation and other costs.