Farmers in grain rich Laikipia West Sub County will benefit from Sh90 million grant grain storage facilities, a project that is jointly implemented by Laikipia County Government and the European Union.
The farmers who suffered post-harvest loses and poor prices will also smile all the way to the bank as the facilities will cushion them from unscrupulous businessmen who bought the maize at low prices.
The project is set to upgrade one existing facility, install three maize driers and train over a thousand maize producers in post-harvest technologies.
“Brokers always took advantage of our crop to dictate meager earnings. Most farmers opted to sell their crop green, with nothing left to sell when the demand was high,” noted Robert Ndungu, a farmer in Mutanga area who will benefit from the Msinduka farmers’ cooperative society.
Ndung’u added that the warehouse will help reduce cases of Aflatoxin in grains as farmers will be storing their commodity in a conducive environment after drying.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, while inspecting the construction of the facilities noted that the three stores in Kinamba, Sopili and Mutanga will also be equipped with driers and agro vets to offer a one-stop shop for the farmers seeking certified seeds and fertilisers.
“We are planning to harvest about 41, 000 bags in the coming season and if we store the maize and sell at an average Shs.3, 000 a bag, the returns will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of these farmers,” said Ndiritu.
European Union Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Simon Mordue noted that the partnership will help the government realize the big four agenda and improve the quality of life that the European Union intended to support.
“This project on maize storage and driers will reduce post-harvest losses by 50 percent and increase earnings to farmers from the current Sh1, 450 per bag to Sh2, 900. We are a strong supporter of Devolution that is why we are partnering with Laikipia County Government and the Ministry of Devolution to implement this project,” said Mordue.