By Ben Leshau
Wheat yields are expected to drop by 40 percent in Narok as a result of reduced acreage under the crop because of high cost of production.
A spot check by County Press found that majority of farmers have reduced the size of land under wheat as they prepare farms for the planting for this year’s crop.
Farmers representatives Musa ole Nampaso and Ibrahim Dikirr explained that the recent increase of fuel by around Sh6 per litre had negatively affected their business.
“Before the fuel was increased we used to till an acre of land at
Sh2500 but now we are being charged Sh3000 per acre which is
costly,” said Nampaso.
The farmers appealed to the government to lower taxes on
agricultural inputs as well as the newly imposed tax on fuel to lower the cost of production for wheat.
They said the high costs of land preparation and farm inputs had forced to cut down the acreage set for planting wheat by 50 percent.
Nampaso who is a large scale wheat farmer at Ntulele in Narok East revealed that most farmers in the county were contemplating abandoning wheat for other crops.
He said he used to plant 1000 acres of wheat but this season he has only invested in 500 acres.
The farmer noted that the government had already imposed taxation on all agricultural products including pesticides pointing out that the additional tax on fuel has boosted the cost of production.
He noted that there will be a shortage of wheat this year which might force millers to import the cereal to meet the country’s demand.
Nampaso said last year wheat production was on the lower side due to heavy rains that led to siltation.
He has since urged the government to increase wheat prices to Sh4000 from last year’s price of Sh 3300 per 90 kg due to the increased cost of production.
Abraham Ole Dikir who is also a large scale farmer said transport cost to ferry seeds to farms has doubled with farmers forced to dig deeper into their pockets.
He recalled that previous governments used to look into the welfare of the farmers and called on the jubilee government to also lower the cost of production for wheat by reducing the taxation on diesel fuel.