The Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) has appealed to the next government to consider re-introducing the Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) to cushion local farmers from unforeseen losses due to the effects of climate change.
Led by the Nakuru branch KENAFF chairman Luke Kessei, they said it was unfair for farmers to spend more on inputs than their total earnings from their farming enterprises, as this would mean either abandoning farming all together or concentrate on subsistence farming.
Speaking during a press conference in Nakuru Monday, Kessei said the European Union spends 50% of its budget to support local farmers and agriculture in general, however, there was very little to show for such tremendous support due to vagaries of weather.
The chairman clarified that GMR system was the most assured way of insuring farmers against the effects of climate change, and it has been proved worldwide as a morale booster for farmers.
He noted with concern that the (GMR) was a significant system that was eradicated in the country due to abuse and unsubstantiated claims from fictitious farmers.
However, KENAFF is now ready to assist the next government in identifying the deserving cases, because they are in the process of formulating a database for farmers.
The chairman dismissed those who have argued that a government can only give farmers a guaranteed minimum return on agricultural produce that it buys, for it can only guarantee a market that it provides, considering that the Kenya government doesn’t buy coffee, tea or horticulture produce.
Kessei noted that the government has always bought maize from farmers, without ensuring or re-introducing the minimum guaranteed returns, citing the current maize crisis that has pushed Unga prices to over Sh200 as a case in point of what happens when local farmers are not protected.