Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago has blamed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya following a recent snub on maize farmers by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
During the Mashujaa Day Celebrations, Uhuru announced 13 interventions that were meant to cover among others agriculture, health, education, and drought response – and even as he directed billions to be set aside for Tea, Coffee, Sugarcane, and Livestock sub-sectors, there was no mention of maize farming.
According to Mandago, CS Munya is to blame for the lack of an allocation to cater to maize farmers, many of who are in the North Rift region.
“As farmers in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Bugoma, and Trans Mara, we are not happy with the ministry of Agriculture for failing to allocate funds for a subsidy of inputs and purchase of maize,” the governor said on Sunday, at AIC Kapsubere in Moiben Sub County.
Mandago noted that with the high cost of production, the leaders and farmers expected the government’s intervention to lower the cost of farm inputs and ensure better prices for maize – which there was no mention in the President’s speech.
The county boss insisted that the government must look at the interest of farmers by setting the minimum maize prize for a 90-kilogram bag to be at least Ksh3,200 and lower the cost of fertilizer to Ksh1,800 for a 50-kilograms bag.
“But if the cost of fertilizer will remain at Ksh6,000, then we should also be given the price of Ksh6,000 for a bag of maize,” he noted.
Mandago further accused Munya of giving preference to farmers from other regions, while leaving out those that plant maize from the North Rift.
“Munya you’re the CS for all Kenyans and must address farmers’ issues fairly. Don’t favor your region, but help all so that even other farmers play their part in enhancing food security in the country,” he noted.
Maize farmers in the North Rift region are currently on a harvesting season and with no funds allocated to purchase their produce at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), there are concerns that traders and middlemen might push the prices to go down.
It is only recently that Keiyo South Member of Parliament Daniel Rono warned that legislators from the North Rift will shoot down a proposal to allocate Ksh10 billion for the third phase of the Kazi Mtaani Initiative until when a similar amount will be allocated to facilitate the purchase of maize from farmers.