The government has resumed buying rice from farmers in Mwea, Kirinyaga County following the release of Sh700 million.
According to the Mwea Rice Growers Multipurpose Cooperative Society chairman Phaniel Ndege, the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) is offering good price for thousands of bags of rice which had been lying idle in stores due to lack of market.
"We are selling a kilo of rice at Sh85 as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and we are happy," said Mr Ndege, adding that the society is marketing paddy on behalf of farmers who grow rice at the expansive Mwea Irrigation Scheme.
In February last year, President Kenyatta visited the area and ordered that rice be bought at Sh85 per kilogramme, up from Sh45, so that farmers can make profits.
He instructed the KNTC to implement his directive immediately.
The State agency bought rice for some time and then stopped, leaving the farmers without a reliable market.
Exploited by brokers
The President noted that the farmers had been exploited by brokers for long, hence the government’s intervention.
Mr Ndege explained that 80,000 bags of rice which are lying at the society's stores in Ngurubani town are being sold to KNTC and assured farmers that they will receive their dues.
“We shall pay farmers next week so they should be patient," he said.
Recently, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said money had been set aside to buy rice following a hue and cry from farmers.
He said the government will ensure that farmers' produce will not go to waste.
Mr Munya assured farmers that their rice will be bought at the price the President directed.