Mr Ruto, however, defended the government from accusations that it has failed to purchase maize from farmers most of whom have not planted this season.
- Moiben MP Silas Tiren clashed with Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen over the government’s failure to address farmers’ plight.
- Data on cross-border trade indicates that Kenya has increased its maize imports from Uganda.
- The imported maize sells at Sh1,800 per 90kg bag compared to the Sh3, 200 offered
Deputy President William Ruto has admitted that cartels are frustrating maize farmers as prices continue to drop.
The drop in prices have been attributed to the bulk importation of cheap maize.
Mr Ruto, however, defended the government from accusations that it has failed to purchase maize from farmers most of whom have not planted this season. “It has become difficult for the government to differentiate between middlemen and genuine farmers when they take their maize to NCPB (National Cereals and Produce Board) depots,” said Mr Ruto.
The DP, who spoke on Sunday during International Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo’s homecoming party at Chepkosom Primary School in Uasin Gishu County, said the government has put in place measures to stamp out middlemen enriching themselves by exploiting farmers.
“We will not allow unscrupulous businessmen to take advantage of our farmers. We will not use tax payer’s money to pay brokers,” he said.
Moiben MP Silas Tiren, who was also at the function clashed with Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen over the government’s failure to address farmers’ plight.
“I’ve been branded a rebel to the extent of being removed from the position of the chairman of the parliamentary committee on agriculture. I will not be cowed in fighting for the welfare of farmers who elected me,” said Mr Tiren.
This came as MPs and the Agriculture ministry agreed that no delivery of maize to the NCPB depots or any other authorised government agency will be allowed until the source is vetted.
A joint statement signed by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and the chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Agriculture Adan Haji said the move is aimed at flushing out unscrupulous traders who import and deliver maize to the board posing as farmers.