Rice farmers in Nyatike Sub County can now breathe a sigh of relief after the government stepped in to purchase their produce.
The farmers drawn from Sagama area who have been banking on Lower Kuja Irrigation scheme project for rice farming have been complaining of exploitation by middlemen whenever their crops matured.
But a move by the Kenya National Trade Corporation (KNTC) to purchase rice from the farmers will come in handy in boosting their production levels.
Last Friday’s stakeholders meeting held between the farmers union officials, irrigation scheme management and a delegation from KNTC resolved to purchase 56 tons of milled rice every week.
KNTC Regional depot Sales manager Mrs Nina Janet said the government had partnered with local farmers to purchase their milled rice at a fairly competitive price with an aim of boosting their production capacity.
Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme manager Mrs Nesline Ogwe called on the farmers to reorganize them and invest heavily in the venture since there is a ready market.
Sagama farmers Union chairman Mr John Olawo said the timely intervention by NTC following the presidential directive will boost the morale of farmers who had fallen victims of exploitation by middlemen since the inception of the scheme in 2016.
In the agreement, farmers will be milling, grading and packaging the produce in 50 kilograms bags before selling to KNTC.
This follows a presidential directive issued on January 14 to have the national treasury to avail funds through Kenya National Trading Corporation to uptake rice from Kenyan farmers in the public irrigation Schemes.
The presidential directive was aimed at helping the farmers get rid of middlemen who had been exploiting farmers with the government setting aside Sh 600,000,00 capacitation fund to help in purchasing the produce from farmers.
By Basil Okoth.