Shock as Elgeyo Marakwet potato farmers decry massive losses after circumstances make them sell a sack of potatoes for sh. 500.
Elgeyo Marakwet is the highest producing area of Irish potatoes. What will shock you is that one bag of potatoes is worth Ksh. 500. In many hotels around the country, the standard price of one plate of chips is Ksh. 250.
So, that means that one bag is equivalent to 2 plates of chips.
In Nairobi a 50kg sack of potatoes goes at an average price of 3,000 shillings. This clearly shows that Elgeyo Marakwet farmers are going through hard times experiencing the losses.
Most of the farmers have complained too much about the losses they are undergoing. Over the past years, none of this has ever happened. The farmers say that they end up with Ksh. 350 that is after the harvesting deduction which is Ksh. 100 and loading charges of Ksh. 50.
The loses are probably caused by the high cost of fertilizers and agro-chemicals. The cost of fertilizer has shot up to Ksh. 3,000 per 50kg. in addition, the cost of pesticides has also increased massively.
The farmers even go further saying that this is the worst harvest season over many years. Initially, middlemen have been buying potatoes in the farms as high as Ksh. 2,000 per 50kg bag. That’s a massive loss, isn’t it?
Walter Maiyo a farmer in Lelan said that he harvested 300 bags of potatoes but the worst thing is that the dealer has not yet arrived. Mr. Maiyo goes even extra saying that farmers sell potatoes illegally in expanded packages weighing up to 80kg. the farmers do this to the advantage of middlemen.
Elgeyo Marakwet governor Wesley Rotich said that the law was supposed to protect the farmers from exploitation. Instead, this turned out to be so ironical.
Rotich adds by saying that prices have plunged to Ksh. 300 per 50kg a case that has never happened in history.