The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Andrew Tuimur has announced that the government has remunerated Sh1.4 billion as part of imbursement to farmers for maize supplies to National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for the year 2017.
500 farmers out of the 987 still owed by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) were estimated to be paid. 89 suspect traders would not be paid as dishonest brokers snaffled Sh2 billions of Sh 8 billion primarily paid to 11,326 farmers.
It is for this reason that the government has started a new classification plan of scrutinizing farmers after it discovered that there were unscrupulous traders who supplied cheap imported grain from neighboring states to benefit from the government.
Already investigations are on going to launch whether more than six million 50kg bags distributed to NCPB depots across the country existed or whether payments were paid for ghost supplies and probing the delayed payment of farmers’ levies by NCPB and the connection of cartels who abused the Government quality.
NCPB said it was waiting for the monies to be reinforced from the Ministry of Devolution at the moment before it starts dispensing to the growers. The ministry had bid for supplementary reserves from the National Treasury after it was allocated Sh1.9 billion in the additional budget to cater for farmers’ debts.
National Cereal and Produce Board buys maize on behalf of the government under the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR). The grain acts as a buffer stock and is used to supplement millers in times of deficiencies to tame high cost of flour.
The government was stunned by high turnout of farmers who delivered maize to the national granary, making it the highest procurement that the NCPB has made from a single spell. Last year government bought close to 1.8 million bags. The State released over 2.5 million bags of maize from the NCPB last year to millers after the price of flour rose to a record high of Sh153 for a two-kilo packet.