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NCPB seeks Sh300m for upgrade of grain dryers

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Workers at the National Cereals and Produce Board, Eldoret depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said a requisition for the funds has already been made to the Agriculture ministry adding that the amount will be used upgrade grain dryers and refurbishing of the depots.
  • Three weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed NCPB to offer storage and drying charges to farmers at reduced fee for this season’s crop.
  • The agency, Mr Kimote said, has 10 dryers countrywide and they need to enhance their performance in order to meet the high volumes of maize that they anticipate will be brought in by farmers seeking drying services.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) requires Sh300 million to offer grain drying and storage services to farmers as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said a requisition for the funds has already been made to the Agriculture ministry adding that the amount will be used upgrade grain dryers and refurbishing of the depots.

Three weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed NCPB to offer storage and drying charges to farmers at reduced fee for this season’s crop.

“We are ready to act on President’s directive but we need some money immediately so that we can effectively deliver on what is required of us. We have made the requisition to our parent ministry in regard to this,” said Mr Kimote.

The agency, Mr Kimote said, has 10 dryers countrywide and they need to enhance their performance in order to meet the high volumes of maize that they anticipate will be brought in by farmers seeking drying services.

“Stores are ready but we need money to bring them to the highest standards so that we can use them in maize storage,” he said.

NCPB has had the history of broken dryers at a time when farmers need to use them for drying their grain in times of damp weather.

Mr Kenyatta told NCPB to cut drying charges by 50 percent, from the current Sh40 per unit to Sh20.

He said the government will ensure driers are made available to all maize growing areas. The driers will be community-based and will be managed by a group of farmers orcooperatives at community level.

NCPB, said Mr Kenyatta, will be required to reduce their storage charges from Sh10 per bag per month to Sh3.

The agency plans to use Sh18 billion this season to buy maize from farmers under its commercial wing.

The grain handler is reverting to commercial trading of maize and other commodities after it stopped concentrating on buying maize for Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) years back.