Farmers in Trans Nzoia County have rejected the 72hrs ultimatum given by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Trade and Industrialization to sell their maize to the National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB), saying the CS does not understand farming better and how it is done.
Speaking to the Western Kenya Times in Kitale, the farmers, led Mr. John Komeni, said it is harvesting season in Trans Nzoia County and the entire Rift Valley and taking maize to the NCPB within 72hrs is a dream since moisture content of maize is still be high.
He said maize has the moisture content of between 25% to 35% after harvesting while the required content should be 13.5%.
He further said that maize takes between 5 to 7 days to dry in order to get the right moisture content.
Mr. Komen added that farmers need more time to dry up their maize to the required content and therefore the 72hrs ultimatum by the CS can’t work for them.
He asked the government to help them sell their produce to NCPB for them to dry up the produce.
‘’I am wondering why the CS gave 72hrs ultimatum. Farmers have not refused to sell their maize. We are doing agribusiness, and even the issue of importing GMO maize is not the right thing because it will be a blow to all farmers in Rift Valley. We have enough food in Kenya if farm inputs can be subsidized to allow farmers do large scale farming,’’ Mr. Komen said.
CS Moses Kuria over the weekend during the burial of a former Standard Media Group Journalist at Simatwet in Kiminini, gave out the 72hrs notice to farmers to take their maize to NCPB, failure to which they should not blame the government for importing the said farm produce.
- Edited by Sam Oduor
Mike Musungu is a reporter at Radio Simba in Bungoma and a correspondent of Trans Nzoia County for the Western Kenya Times.