Farmers from across the country are set to reap big after the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) increased purchase rates for maize.
This is after NCPB failed to get farmers to sell their produce three weeks after opening their depots. Reports indicate that the board had only managed to buy slightly above 2000 bags as at the end of the January 11 to January 15 week.
In a statement issued by the state agency, prices were reviewed upwards from Ksh2,500 per 90-kilogram bag to Ksh2,700 on the same unit.
“NCPB has reviewed its maize purchases price upwards for a 90Kg bag to Ksh2,700 from Ksh2,500. We urge all farmers with maize that meet the required standards to deliver their grain,” the statement by NCPB read in part.
Bags of maize at an NCPB depot.
The decision by the government is also reported to have been influenced by the competitive prices offered by millers in the country who are reportedly buying a 90 kg bag of maize for Ksh2,600.
To ensure smooth and mutual business transactions between the farmers and the state agency, NCPB assured that all payments for maize bought would be processed within 24 hours.
NCPB rolled out the purchase of maize in December 2020, after having failed to buy maize from farmers in 2019. NCPB is, however, looking to acquire the grains for commercial purposes rather than for the Strategic Grain Reserve, as it has always been.
“We are therefore encouraging farmers to bring in their maize to the NCPB and get value for their crop,” the board stated.
The state agency is looking to acquire the maize under its commercial wing for the purpose of reselling it to millers along with other grains such as rice and beans.
In the previous years, the government only acquired maize through NCPB for the Strategic Grain Reserve only, with the aim of having at least three million bags for use in case of emergencies such as famine.
After which the state agency releases it to millers at relatively low costs to regulate prices as to cushion consumers.
According to records from the Ministry of Agriculture, maize prices vary from across the country, with the price in some counties higher than that in others.
For instance, a bag of maize in Kirinyaga is currently going for Ksh3,150, Kajiado Ksh2,946, Bungoma Ksh2,925, Makueni Ksh2,700, Kakamega Ksh2,549, Nakuru Ksh2,504 and Kisii Ksh2,307.
A file photo of maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi.