Maize farmers snub NCPB for higher market prices


The National Cereals and Produce Board, Nakuru depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) faces challenges buying maize from farmers after most of the growers opted to sell the crop to private millers and traders who offer better prices and make prompt payments.

There are fears that the board might not achieve its target of buying one million bags of maize on a commercial basis as food shortage looms due to a decline in acreage under maize last season following erratic weather and disease outbreaks.

Whereas the board is offering sh2,500 per 90 kg bag and making prompt payment, millers have increased the prices to sh2,700 buying the produce at farm gate level in cut-throat competition occasioned by an anticipated shortage in the market.

NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote cited slow delivery of the produce to its depots.

“We expect the deliveries to improve as the festive season ends and normal business operations resume,” he said.

The board has allocated Sh2.5 billion to buy one million bags of maize after the government suspended buying of the grains for emergency food stock.

“We urge farmers to take advantage of our prompt payment to deliver their crop to our buying centres countrywide,” said Mr Kimote.

The board has purchased less than 1,000 bags of maize in the last one week.

A 90-kilogramme bag of maize in most parts of the North Rift goes for Sh2,800 up from 2,300 while that of wheat is selling at Sh3,400 up from Sh3,100 as most farmers reserve the produce to cope with the impending shortage.

“Our buying centres are open. We encourage farmers to deliver their produce and receive payment within 24 hours,” said Mr Kimote.