Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter claims that the maize shortage experienced in the country should be blamed on cartels.
In a statement on Thursday, the legislator alleged that there are cartels that are pushing farmers to abandon maize farming for avocados.
The fiery politician insists that the alleged cartels colluded to create an artificial shortage so that they benefit from importation of maize.
“I urge the government to first buy from the farmers at the current market price of Ksh.3,500. The cartels should leave the farmers alone and instead import avocados themselves if they think it can feed the country,” his statement reads.
Keter further emphasised that the country is facing food crisis in specific counties yet the country has a strong agricultural background sector.
“The agriculture sector is the backbone of Kenya’s economy contributing about 24percent of the GDP,” he said.
This comes days after President Uhuru Kenyatta struck a deal with the Mauritian Government to export avocados.
Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma said Kenya’s avocado is now approved to get into the Mauritian market.
“Other products that will access this market include baby carrots and broccolli,” she added.
Deputy President William Ruto has been at the forefront of urging farmers to pursue other farming options.
In November 2018, he urged farmers to ‘stop thinking small’ and reduce reliance on maize.
According to the DP, farmers should be thinking about produce that can be exported.
“I heard some people say the other day that they are not interested in diversification because you cannot put avocados in a store or you cannot feed avocados on initiates,” said DP Ruto.
“People are producing for markets to export while others are thinking of how to produce to go and put in a store. That is how low some people think in our country,” he added.
Early this year, Dr. Ruto again took a swipe at those criticising his proposal for substitute farming saying crop diversification will shield them from uncertainties.
He mentioned crops such as macadamia, coffee, tea and avocado.
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