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A frustrated young farmer Sammy Chebon (as indicated on his Tiktok account) on a video has dared the government to buy his bags of maize or he burns them all in three days! As though his life depended on the harvest sales and staring at joblessness, he imagines crime as a last option and is ready to steal mobile phones in Nairobi for survival if only he knew where to start.

“Nime kasirika! Ona hii maindi yote. Hakuna mtu wakununua alafu naskia ati serikali ina oder mahindi kutoka ng’ambo. Serikali ikatu uzia mboloea shilingi elfu sita, tukakomboa mashamba tukalima. Mungu ametusaidia ndio hii mahindi. Saa hii hakuna lorry inakujia mahindi. Ikifika siku tatu nitachoma na nimulike muone nimekasirika”

The Conflict

In Kenya it is not easy to come by a youth engaged in farming as passionate as he sounds. After investing as much, he seems to have no market for the harvest. If the maize is rained on he will lose all and would rather burn them before the rains.

He is one of the farmers who headed to the government call to buy fertilisers, plant maize to mitigate on the national shortage. The farmers feel shortchanged as the government is none committal on directly buying the maize and would rather they sell directly to the millers who also seem evasive or keen on a price lower than the government.

Most of the farmers just like Chebon invested largely with an assumption the government will buy their maize. The standoff between the farmers, government and millers is intensely evolving to a socioeconomic conflict.

The Stand off

The CS trade Hon. Moses Kuria gave farmers an ultimatum to sell their maize in 72 hrs or they import 10 million bags, release in the market with the objective to ease food shortage and lower price of maize flour. Kuria believes the farmers are hoarding maize to upto 20 million bags to blackmail the government into buying at the price they redeem fair by their investment.

The farmers are yet to yield to the CS’s threat to import and currently the retail price of a 90 kg bag has hit Kshs. 6,000 in Nairobi. The millers indicate cross border supply from Tanzania and Uganda has fizzled out, while Kenyan farmers are yet to supply.

However, CS Agriculture Hon. Mithika Linturi at a Council of Governors meeting has asked farmers to totally disregard his trade counterparts remarks reminding them that he is incharge and not Moses Kuria. A position supported by the Chief Minister Hon. Musalia Mudavadi.

“Serikali inanunua mahindi ya GMO kutoka ngambo na sisi tumeng’angana tumevuna na hakuna lorry ya kuchukuwa. Tutatafuta kazi ingine hata hiyo ya kuiba masimu Nairobi. Garissa na Turkana watu wanakufa njaa na ndio hii mahindi inaenda kuharibika. Ruto ametifanyia mini, ulituomba kura tukakupea” Sammy Cheboi.

The irony is why the maize cannot get to the hunger stricken areas where millions are affected.

If not a bluff, we wait to see if Sammy Chebon’s maize will be bought or he burns them.

By Julius Owino MajiMaji

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