Maize millers have protested the one-month notice issued by the government to vacate from NCPB stores which they had hired in Eldoret.
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri had ordered NCPB to reposes its leased out stores to create more space for maize deliveries from farmers.
NCPB operations manager Cornel Ngelechei said the board needed the stores as it prepares to buy maize from farmers.
Led by Kitui Flour Millers, the millers said by NCPB taking over the stores, it will render over 40 workers jobless.
“We urge the government to think twice and leave for us the stores so that we may continue helping large and small scale farmers until the maize season ends as we plan to look for an alternative place where we will conduct our business,” said Vae Fakii Vae who was speaking on the behalf of the millers.
Speaking to the press in Eldoret town on Wednesday, Fakii noted that they have been using the stores for the last 27 years and have been paying an annual rent of Sh 6 million.
“If they eject us from the premises at this time, small and large farmers will suffer a lot since they will have nowhere to take their produce,” he said
The board has asked the maize millers to vacate its go-downs by December 31. However, some millers said they lacked alternative stores.
The NCPB is yet to open its depots for buying new maize from farmers. The government plans to buy two million bags. However, no funds have been released to the NCPB.
Farmers are demanding that maize prices be increased from the Sh2,300 per 90kg bag announced last month to Sh3,200.
He said many had opted to sell their produce at throw away prices to middlemen. The middlemen have swarmed the North Rift to buy maize cheaply from desperate farmers.
The traders are offering farmers between Sh800 and Sh1,200 per 90kg bag in Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and parts of Bungoma and Kakamega counties.
“We’re caught up in a hard situation and will have to incur heavy loses as a result,” farmer Zachariah Kiptoo said.