President William Ruto declared stringent measures to safeguard the interests of local farmers and bolster Kenya’s agricultural sector. During a meeting at State House, Nairobi, he announced that no permits would be issued to millers for importing wheat or maize into the country.
He emphasised that this decision was pivotal in shielding local farmers from unfair competition and ensuring their economic stability.
Ruto underlined that the government would only consider deviating from this directive if the local production of maize and wheat fell short of meeting the nation’s demands. To bolster the agricultural sector, the government has allocated Ksh 4 billion (about $27 million) to directly purchase maize from farmers.
This allocation is part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at stabilising market prices, guaranteeing fair compensation for farmers, and ensuring food security for the nation.
Addressing the issue of post-harvest losses caused by high moisture levels, Ruto introduced what some local experts describe as a “practical solution”. He revealed that National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) driers would be available to farmers at a minimal fee of Ksh 50 (about $0.34), significantly reducing costs from the previous rate of nearly Sh400 (about $2.71) per bag. This move not only alleviates the problem of moisture but also provides farmers with the means to store their produce securely, thereby preventing wastage and financial losses.
During the meeting, Ruto issued a passionate plea to farmers, urging them not to undersell their crops. He stressed the importance of fair pricing, assuring farmers of government support and fair returns for their agricultural efforts.
According to reports, his words resonated with the attendees, including governors Patrick Ole Ntutu of Narok and Jonathan Leleliit of Samburu, Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo, Members of County Assembly (MCAs), and grassroots leaders.
In addition to these initiatives, Ruto announced the construction of a Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) milk plant in Narok. This development is poised to elevate the quality of locally produced milk, consequently increasing its market value and improving the livelihoods of dairy farmers.
Ruto’s proactive measures have received widespread acclaim, marking a significant stride toward ensuring food security, supporting local farmers, and boosting the nation’s economy. As these initiatives take root, they are expected to have a lasting positive impact on Kenya’s agricultural landscape and the lives of its citizens.