State vows not to raise maize price above Sh2,300 per bag

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS -

Ed­win Mu­tai SH2,135

The Agri­cul­ture min­istry has said that it will not re­view the Sh2,300 of­fered to farm­ers for a 90 kilo bag of maize de­spite protest by Par­lia­ment.

Agri­cul­ture Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Sec­re­tary (CAS) An­drew Tuimur said the min­istry will buy maize at the cost set by the strate­gic food re­serve (SFR) and ap­proved by the Cab­i­net.

“The price has been set and my hands are tied,” Mr Tuimur told the Na­tional As­sem­bly’s Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture.

MPS how­ever re­jected the re­sponse and ques­tioned the ra­tio­nale be­hind the re­duc­tion of the price from Sh3,200 of­fered last year. The com­mit­tee said it would take an in­de­pen­dent stand on the price of­fer.

“We di­rect you to find money else­where in the min­istry and al­lo­cate the SFR to buy more maize,” Adan Haji, who chairs of pro­duc­ing a bag of maize, ac­cord­ing to Cheran­gany MP Joshua Ku­tuny the com­mit­tee, said. He said farm­ers were suf­fer­ing and had re­jected the Sh2,300 price.

“We can­not ac­cept the re­sponse from the min­istry be­cause it is not sat­is­fac­tory. What in­formed the re­duc­tion of the price from Sh3,200 to Sh2,300 when the cost of pro­duc­tion has gone up?” Cheran­gany MP Joshua Ku­tuny asked. The Strate­gic Food Re­serve Over­sight Board said it re­lied on re­search from think tank Tege­meo In­sti­tute based at Eger­ton Univer­sity to lower the price at which the gov­ern­ment would buy the grain.

The re­search in­di­cated that the cost of pro­duc­ing a bag of maize this year stood at Sh1,539.

This in­formed the board to add a profit mar­gin of 30 per cent on the pro­duc­tion cost, value added tax of eight per cent, and Sh176 a bag for un­fore­seen fac­tors.

Mr Ku­tuny dis­puted the claim say­ing the cost of pro­duc­ing a bag of maize was Sh2,135.

--JEFF ANGOTE

An­drew Tuimur.

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