A Nyeri Man Fights for his Potatoes’ Right Bride Price
Mr Stephen Wang’ombe is a potato farmer in Kieni west
division, Nyeri and has been in the business for more than five years. Over
these years, he has seen brokers arm-twist farmers to sell their produce at a
loss. What is disheartening is that sometimes these brokers use intimidation or
force to buy from farmers. But not to farmers like Wango’mbe who are informed.
Last Tuesday potato brokers called him up and expressed desire to buy his six bags of potatoes. On arrival at the farm they offered him a bad offer which he declined. Infuriated, the brokers tried to intimidate him but he knew he has the right to sell.
The brokers offered Sh1500 for a 120kg extended bag of Wang’ombe’s potatoes. Aware of the wholesale price of the bag, Wango’ombe turned down their offer. The brokers changed tone and demanded to be sold the bags at their price claiming they had burned fuel to come all the way from Embu. Farmer Wang’ombe knew he has a right to sell. He stuck to his guns which saw the brokers leave promising to return with more potent force.
In the information age we live in, by the touch of a button, the mobile phone is to able inform the farmer the prices of agricultural commodities they want to sell. This is possible through M-Farm’s real-time price information service.
With such information under his belt, a farmer is able to negotiate better with brokers who often ride on farmers’ ignorance to exploit them. This was the arsenal Stephen had when brokers approached him to buy his potatoes.
As promised, the brokers returned with administration police to Wang’ombe’s farm in Kieni Division barking two extremes odds: he either sells his potatoes to the brokers or his farm worker gets arrested. His farm worker was taken away for the day. It later emerged, as Wang’ombe alleges, that the brokers went and bribed the local sub-chief to come intimidate his farm worker to release the potatotoes. Farmer Wang’ombe argued his worker’s case with the police saying this was a civil case and not a criminal case and the police had no powers to arrest his farm worker. He prevailed on the Administration Police who later released his farm worker.
Speaking on the phone to M-Farm, Farmer Wang’ombe said that brokers can be nuisance and they sometimes use force to buy from farmers.
According to M-Farm's real-time price information, a 130kg extended bag of potatoes in Nairobi is going for a low of Sh2,000 and a high of Sh2,300.
Wang’ombe’s potatoes are back in his farm store until brokers adjust their attitude on farm-gate prices and pay the right bride price for his six bags of Irish potatoes.