National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) office

Farmers have been given a respite as a result of an announcement made by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) that they would be increasing the pricing at which they purchase maize from farmers.

When testifying in front of the Public Investment, Social Services Administration, and Agriculture Committee, the Director General of the Board, Joseph Kimeto, claimed that they had hiked the cost of a 90-kilogram bag by Sh500, bringing it higher than its previous price of Sh5,100.

"As of this moment, we are open for business, and producers are able to do transactions with any of us." According to what he said, "the price was Sh5100 for a 90-kilogram bag, but we have revised it to Sh5600."

According to Kimeto had to say, "Any farmer who can supply at that cost will receive it in cash via MPESA transaction, so there's no wait at all."

Farmers have voiced concerns that they might incur financial losses as a result of the president's announcement that it would be allowing duty-free maize imports as part of an effort to close the budget gap.

The NCPB has been responsible for the storage of 50,000 bags for commercial reasons up to this point.

In addition, Kimeto disclosed to the MPs that the procedure for selling subsidised fertiliser is now being carried out in a total of 12 counties.

In the region, including the North Rift, the South Rift, and the Lake Basin, the administration has the intention of dispersing 6 million bags prior to the conclusion of the planting season.

"The objective is to make certain that the delivery is produced on time between now and the planting period, which is in the following month," he added. "The purpose is to guarantee that the delivery is provided on time."

"Now that many are stating that they can smell the rain, it seems like we are going to reap a significant harvest." In addition, Kimeto said that "we are working together with the county governors and elected officials" on this project.

But, members of parliament, headed by Joshua Kimilu, who represents the district of Kaiti, have voiced worries that the quality of the fertiliser is below par, which would have unfavourable effects during the planting season.

Farmers are lamenting that despite their use of fertilisers, the land continues to dry up because of the lack of rain. We were without rain for two weeks, and while those who used alternative fertilisers had their crops flourish, those who relied on the government's fertiliser saw all of their crops destroyed.

The yield of maize and other food crops has decreased, which has led to a worsening of the country's current food crisis. High input prices, notably for fertiliser, are also to blame.

Through the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme, the national treasury granted a total of 3.55 billion Kenyan shillings in 2022 to pay for the procurement and distribution of subsidised fertiliser to farmers. This programme resulted in the allocation of 1.4 million 50-kilogram bags of fertiliser to farmers all over the country.

The annual output of maize is roughly 40 million bags, and because the usage of fertiliser accounts for thirty percent of productivity, this indicates that increasing the amount of fertiliser used might potentially enhance yields by roughly 4.2 million bags.

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