Maize farmers in Uasin Gishu yesterday made an emotional appeal to the Senate to intervene and have them paid.
The agitated farmers who met the senators at Eldoret Town Hall said they are tired of waiting for their dues. They said that payments should be prompt once they deliver their grains to the NCPB.
They hundreds of farmers made the presentations to the committee chaired by Uasin Gishu senator Margaret Kamara and attended by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Kipchumba Murkomen (Uasin Gishu), Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Gideon Moi (Baringo) and Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), among other senators.
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National Treasury has already released Sh1.4 billion to be paid to the farmers who supplied their maize to National Cereals and Produce Board.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture is vetting the farmers to weed out cartels before the money is paid.
Before the Adhoc committee proceeded for the public hearings, it had had another meeting with executives members from 12 counties, who called for urgent unbundling of functions and management of the NCPB.
The Agriculture executives told the committee the persistent crisis is due to insistence by the national government to hold on to the stores.
They appealed to the Senate to intervene to have the NCPB management run by the counties.
“As it is now, county governments, where NCPB deports are, do not know or even determine how they operate, a situation that needs to be addressed urgently through an overhaul of the management of the NCPB,” Mary Nzomo, an executive in Trans Nzoai told the committee.
She added: “We are calling for a review of the NCPB Act Cap 338 Laws of Kenya in its entirety to restructure the board and devolve the function of construction and management of strategic grain reserves to the counties”.
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Uasin Gishu executive Samuel Yego said the 16 per cent VAT, which was recently imposed by Treasury on agrochemicals should be reversed, adding that NCPB should be compelled to pay for the farmers’s interest required by the Agricultural Finance Corporation. “The average annual production is four million 90kg bags and this year, we expect to harvest 4.5 million bags. We, as a county, are calling for establishment of grain buying centres in producing areas to ease delivery,” Yego said.
“The average annual production is four million 90kg bags and this year, we expect to harvest 4.5 million bags. We, as a county, are calling for establishment of grain buying centres in producing areas to ease delivery,” Yego said.
Kiplimo Lagat from Nandi urged the national government to give all the subsidies to the counties as conditional grant, saying the counties will be able to target and differentiate beneficiaries “effectively and efficiently”. “A large scale farmer should be incentivised differently from small scale farmer because they both face different constraints and market conditions,” he said.