Maize farmers will have to wait longer before they start selling their crop to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) as the Treasury is yet to release funds more than three weeks after Cabinet approved the purchase of the grains.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the Treasury had not released the funds, hence the exercise could not commence. “At the moment we are still waiting for funds before the exercise of buying maize from farmers begins,” said Prof Boga.
Treasury failed to comment on this story amid on ongoing investigations at the NCPB of traders and nor farmers having been paid billions from maize deals. Farmers are still owed cash for last year’s crop.
Prof Boga said the State would not review upwards the purchase price of Sh2,300 per 90-kg bag that the Cabinet approved on November 22. Farmers have protested the price and are pushing for an increase.
Last year, the government paid farmers Sh3,200 per 90-kg bag. The expected entry of the government into maize buying prompted private millers to increase their purchasing price to between Sh1,800 and Sh2,000 from Sh1,200.
This has upset the State forecast of a packet of maize flour falling to Sh75 from about Sh90 on increased harvests.
Maize harvest hit 40.9 million bags this year, reflecting a 20 per cent rise which was expected to deliver cheaper flour and hurt farmers’ earnings.