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Economy

Multi-billion Galana churns out Sh35m maize in a year

Hamadi Boga
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga (Left) with Administrative Secretary Kello Harsama before Senate committee on September 12. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

The government produced a paltry 22,000 bags of maize currently worth Sh35.2 million from Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme despite spending Sh7.3 billion in the Israeli-backed food security project, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) told the Senate that it is holding 40,000 fifty- kilogramme (kg) bags of maize received from the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC).

The bags of maize translate to 22,000, 90kg bags that were harvested in the financial year 2017, currently worth Sh35.2 million at current market price of Sh1,600 per bag.

Kenya is partnering with Israel to develop 10,000-acre model farm in Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme.

The Sh7.3 billion project covers about one million acres of land and targets crop production on 10,000 acres in Kilifi and Tana River counties.

On August 2014, the National Irrigation Board (NIB) signed a Sh14.5 billion contract with Israeli firm Green Arava Ltd to pilot a project in the Galana-Kulalu scheme.

As at March this year, only 5,000 acres, out of the targeted one million acres, had been put under crop.

The NIB early this year cancelled an invitation of bids from investors who could start production on the 10,000 acres whose infrastructure has been building since 2015.

“As NCPB, we are holding about 22,000 of 90kg bags of maize that was harvested from Galana in the last crop season.

“We are yet to pay them (ADC). We have agreed that we will delay payment to ADC and pay the smallscale farmers first because it’s a government entity,” Mr Alvin Sang, the acting NCPB managing director told the Senate ad-hoc committee that is investigating why farmers who delivered maize to the NCPB have not been paid.

The team is also probing the quantity of duty-free maize imported into the country during the duty-free window that was to end in October but was extended to December 2017.

A total of 10.5 million bags of 90kg each were imported in a period that saw the government spend Sh11.5 billion to purchase 3.6 million bags of 90 kgs.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei sought to know the amount of maize that the NCPB had received from Galana.

“We want to know the amount of maize that was harvested from the multibillion-shilling project in Galana-Kulalu. Can you provide us with the figures of bags harvested?” Mr Cherargei asked crops principal secretary Hamida Boya.

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