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The national commodity exchange will be operational by October according to Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. Speaking at the National Trade Week at KICC, Munya said the commodity exchange will allow farmers to sell their produce at real-time market prices and in the process eliminate the role of the middlemen.

 

Challenges Local Traders and Farmers Face & Possible Solutions

Farmers and traders attending the event said the lack of information flowing between the two levels of government has affected them negatively with regards to market and items in demand. A farmer from Makueni said the lack of market linkages often results in produce going to waste.

“I am a mango farmer, and when I tried to get information from the relevant export institutions on how to sell my produce internationally, I was referred to my county export officers, who unfortunately were clueless on the information that I needed,” she said.

 
To solve such challenges, Munya suggested that farmers should be organised in groups and trained so that they can start exporting their produce to foreign markets such as the US via the AGOA strategy. The attendees also agreed on the need to avail Kenya’s trade agreements on open-source platforms.

 

 
“For the strategy to work, and for farmers to reap maximum benefits this round, small-scale outgrowers need to revive the co-operatives and other organisations which can help them with capacity and support such as the right seeds to grow in order to meet stringent regulations needed for international markets,” he said.

 

CS Munya also noted that farmers remain the least paid people on the agricultural produce supply chain in spite of the efforts they are making to change the status quo. He said farmers should be given information on the right crops to grow so that they can obtain a competitive edge.

 

Furthermore, he advocated for farmers in cotton growing areas to start growing the crop again by using BT cotton seeds which grow faster and give better yields. Currently, Rivatex is already operational while there are plans to revive the Kicomi Mills in Kisumu.

 

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