What you need to know:
- The government’s promise to buy the grains through the National Cereals and Produce to cushion the farmers has not been fulfilled.
- Farmers are disposing of their produce at throwaway prices to avoid the rains-induced aflatoxin and yet they will soon be confronted by food shortages as the deluge sets in.
The impending heavy El Nino rains could spell doom for various parts of the country. In the north, food insecurity and malnutrition are rearing their ugly heads again. Mapping out flood-prone areas will quicken responses to enhance stability and ease suffering.
As often happens, the concern over the mounting crisis is fuelling the rush to harvest food crops ahead of the rains with prices naturally plummeting due to the glut. But that is a temporary effect as the supplies are likely to run out as the coming adverse weather takes root.
In the North Rift, as the farmers rush to sell their produce, maize prices, for example, have plunged to an all-time low of Sh3,800 per 90kg bag from Sh6,200 just a month ago. This is bad news for the farmers but a godsend for the traders and millers, who are taking advantage of the favourable prices.
Sadly, the government’s promise to buy the grains through the National Cereals and Produce (NCPB) to cushion the farmers has not been fulfilled.
They would like the government to buy their produce at Sh6,000 per 90kg to recoup the high cost of fuel and farm inputs dogging the agricultural sector.
The prices are expected to drop further. Farmers are disposing of their produce at throwaway prices to avoid the rains-induced aflatoxin and yet they will soon be confronted by food shortages as the deluge sets in. This is a pity as the region is expecting a bumper harvest, which would have helped to reduce the high cost of living.
The government should not just open the NCPB stores but also, as the farmers’ leaders have appealed, provide dryers and other support to avert the looming huge post-harvest losses.