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Economy

Kiunjuri defends NCPB, says budgeted maize funds depleted

Devolution secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO | FILE
Agriculture secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. PHOTO | FILE 

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has justified the National Cereal and Produce Board's (NCPB) failure to buy maize saying farmers had delivered more than what the government anticipated.

Speaking on Wednesday when he toured the Agricultural Development Corporation Bull Station in Endebess, Trans Nzoia County, the CS said they had budgeted Sh7 billion for purchasing grain but that the allocation had been depleted.

"We said that we will have Sh7 billion to buy maize but this time round we have received maize which is worth Sh10 billion," said Mr Kiunjuri.

Farmers have been turned away by the NCPB in North Rift for what the board claimed was lack of space in silos to store more maize.

Mr Kiunjuri said the government expected 2.4 million bags of maize but that it had bought 3.2 million bags already. He, however, said they had allocated another Sh1 billion for purchase of the maize.

"We have already set aside another Sh1 billion. As you know the government works within a budget and the money we spend must go through Parliament. So we have a supplementary request that is coming up that will help us buy all the all the maize farmers bring to us."

In the interim, he said, the State would raise Sh125 million from other sources to pay farmers from next week.

He also said they were looking for extra space to store the maize so as to take more grain.

"The 3.2 million bags of maize is more than double we expected and the storage facility is now stretched. We have issued a directive that maize in Eldoret stores be taken to other stores in Bungoma and others part of the country," he explained as he assured farmers of plans to ensure all maize was collected from them in the next two weeks.

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