Farmers want their association revived


Published on 04/12/2008

By Dedan Okanga

Farmers are pushing for the revival of the defunct Kenya Farmers Association (KFA).

North Rift farmers say this is the only practical way to address the biting food crisis. The farmers dismissed politicians suggestions for addressing the food crisis saying farmers had the answers to the problem.

They explained the current crisis was as a result of the Government neglecting crucial reforms in the agriculture sector.

“Only KFA has the potential to transform the agricultural sector to full productivity on the domestic market and export,” said Kipkorir Menjo.

Environment

According to them, the acreage for maize cultivation has been reducing over the years because of environmental degradation and population pressure, which need broad based approaches to address.

They also took issue with neglect of KFA facilities, and poor accessibility in the region, which had slowed down deliveries and increased production costs.

“KFA stores are underutilised yet most of them are linked to the railway lines which would enhance deliveries compared to the ragged road network built by the colonists in 1914,” said Paul Kerich, a farmer.

The farmers also urged the Government to expedite the process of setting up maize buying centres close to farmers to minimise costs.

The group expressed fears that the increase in prices of fertilizers would make it difficult for them to lower maize prices and compound the food crisis in the coming days.

Food situation

“DAP fertilizer currently retails at about Sh 6, 000, which means that a farmer has to sell about four bags of maize to afford one bag of fertilizer and no farmer can accept this,” added Kerich.The food situation in Kenya has continued to worsen with the prices of basic food commodities like maize, sugar and rice rising by the day.

This has been occasioned by the poor long rains this year and the post election crisis that hit the country at the beginning of the year.The most affected areas include Turkana, Mandera, Samburu, Baringo, Marsabit, Wajir, Moyale and Garissa districts. Equally affected are the districts of Isiolo, Laikipia, Ijara, Taita Taveta, Kitui, Mwingi, Makueni, Mbeere, Malindi, Kilifi, Kwale, and Tana River districts.

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