Deputy President William Ruto on Monday declared war on the cartels who have infiltrated the cereal chain, fleecing farmers by flooding the market with imported produce.
Speaking during the funds drive for Anglican Church of Kenya in Kitale, Trans Nzoia, Ruto noted that the cartels in the Agricultural sector are to be listed among those whom the government is fighting.
Additionally, the DP stated that the government through the Ministry of Agriculture is set to register the over 2.5 million farmers countrywide to weed out cartels and transform the sector into a profitable investment.
"We want to register the farmers in the next 90 days to ensure that only genuine ones benefit from the subsidised fertiliser programme," Ruto exclaimed.
However, he regretted that the cartels import cheap maize from Uganda and sell it to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Ksh3,200 per 90 Kilograms.
"For the past three years, we have been purchasing about 1.5 million bags of maize from farmers, but shockingly, this year we have bought more than 3.7 million bags across the country. Where have the two million bags come from," wondered the Deputy President.
He further asserted that middlemen and conmen have overrun the distribution of government subsidised fertilizer and destabilised the market for the local produce.
"Although the government had set aside Ksh4.5 billion to pay farmers for their produce, an additional Ksh12 billion is going to be used due to cartels, who imported cheap crop," Ruto noted.
He also called on the county government and local leaders to work together to ensure that the issue of cartels and middlemen is solved once and for all.
Focusing on development, Ruto promised that the government will partner with the county government to build 350 water dams to support irrigation.
Ruto was accompanied by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Nyali MP Mohammed Ali and CheranyanyMP Joshua Kuttuny.