Maize farmers to wait longer for NCPB pay

Trucks loaded with maize outside the National Cereals Produce Board depot in Nakuru in the past. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Maize farmers will have to wait longer before they can receive money for delivery of their produce to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) despite promises by the government to make prompt payments.

The Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) Tuesday confirmed that it has not received money to start paying the farmers.

“The authority to spend has been issued by the Treasury but the money has not been wired to our account,” said Dr Noah Wekesa SFRTF Chairman.

“We are optimistic that the money will be released before the end of this week,” added Dr Wekesa on phone.

The NCPB management Tuesday disclosed that it has bought 150,000 90kg-bags of maize worth Sh375 million.


Queues at depots

The board has purchased 132,000 bags valued at Sh330 million in its Eldoret depot, with long queues forming in most other depots as farmers rush to sell the produce to raise capital for next planting season.

“We are still waiting for SFRTF on when it will provide the money to enable us make the payment,” said Mr Maiyo.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri last week said the Treasury was yet to release funds meant for purchase of maize but has secured Sh5 billion to pay farmers for the crop.

He assured the farmers who have delivered their maize to the board that they would start receiving their payment from this week.

The government plans to buy 2 million bags of maize worth Sh5 billion at Sh2,500 per bag down from Sh3,200 it offered last year.

The government has capped maize from each farmer at 400 bags worth Sh1 million.

But stringent vetting conditions is making it difficult for most farmers to deliver their produce to the board.

Vetting team

“We have purchased plentiful of the maize at our Eldoret depot while farmers have not been cleared by the vetting team in other depots,” said Titus Maiyo, the board corporate affairs manager.

The farmers are required to produce National Identification card (ID), National Identification Number (PIN), Land Title Deed or lease agreement for the vetting exercise.

Other conditions include accepted moisture content of 13.5 degree Celsius, low broken percentage of the grains, checking of any cases of aflatoxin and damages by weevils among others.