Govt's maize price unacceptable, says Senate ad hoc committee

By MACHARIA MWANGI
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The Senate ad hoc committee probing the maize scandal has asked the government to rescind the decision to buy the product from farmers at Sh2,300 per 90-kg bag.

 The Cabinet on Thursday approved the purchase of two million bags of maize at this price.

However, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, who leads the committee alongside Prof Margaret Kamar, on Saturday termed the price “unacceptable”.

“Note the reaction by farmers, who have openly showed discontentment over the maize pricing,” he said in address to journalists at a hotel in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

He noted that in the last season, the government bought maize from farmer at Sh3,200.

Mr Wetang’ula, who is Ford Kenya party leaders, questioned the rationale for the price decline, saying the cost of farm inputs had increased with the introduction of various taxes, including the eight percent value added tax on fuel.

“We are telling the Cabinet to rescind the decision because it is not acceptable to farmers and members of the Senate,” he said.

He added that it is comical for a country known for bumper maize harvests to offer farmers a price that is not commensurate to their efforts.

The senator further said they sympathised with farmers so they will continue engaging the Cabinet to ensure their issues are adequately addressed.

He reported that the committee had made tremendous progress on the maize report, which he said will be tabled in the Senate “sometime next week.”

Committee chair Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu senator) said they were drafting a report that recommends a price of at least Sh3,000.

She said it is ironical to make food security a key pillar in the Big Four agenda and offer offers the current price.

Other present were Bomet Senator Christopher Langat, Trans Nzoia’s Michael Mbito and Nominated Senator Mary Seneta. 

By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team