A two-day farmers’ forum kicked off on Thursday in Kenya’s northwest region, focusing on the adoption of new technologies to boost yields.
The meeting, organized by the East African Grain Council (EAGC), a regional lobby for cereal farmers, comes amid concern over diminishing returns in the country’s grain sector occasioned by high tax regimes on inputs and machinery as compared to other East African countries whose cost is lower.
In his opening remarks, Gerald Masila, EAGC’s executive officer, welcomed a move by the government to enact a law to legalize the use of the warehouse receipt system, saying it will offer farmers access to credit facilities as collateral.
“Kenya remains high in cost of production and taxes in comparison to Tanzania and Uganda which have lower taxes. This disadvantage farmers in Kenya with an increased balance of payment is owing to growing importation,” Masila told farmers in Kitale.
He said the warehouse receipt Act will see all warehouses licensed to be operational. This will be useful for farmers within this sector who face difficulties when seeking for financial aid owing to ambiguous conditions.
A warehouse receipt system (WRS) enables farmers to deposit storable goods (usually grains or coffee) in exchange for a warehouse receipt (WR).
A warehouse receipt is a document issued by warehouse operators as evidence that specified commodities of stated quantity and quality have been deposited at a particular location.
The county government of Trans Nzoia challenged farmers in the region to take advantage of new measures put in place by the devolved unit to reduce the cost of production through new technologies like conservation Agriculture.
“We challenge our farmers to embrace new technological advancements which reduce the cost of production while improving the financial returns as opposed to obsolete technologies,” said the county’s executive committee member for Agriculture and Livestock Mary Nzomo.
Nzomo also challenged grain farmers to embrace the cooperative model of business to have the muscle to access better markets with the county government having set up measures to revamp the department. Enditem