The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will start trading in maize following a Cabinet directive to the Ministry of Agriculture to establish a trading division.
The move that will help NCPB grow revenues is part of the far-reaching reforms the government wants implemented at the grain handler in the next few months. NCPB’s core business has been buying and storing maize on behalf of the government mainly for relief purposes.
However, it has been engaging in small-scale selling of rice and pulses.
The Cabinet also wants the Ministry of Agriculture to put measures in place to ensure the agency cedes 25 percent of the space at its stores to private sector to be used as warehouse to allow NCPB earn income from the lease. “Cabinet secretaries for Agriculture and Treasury are directed to take administrative steps to cause NCPB to cede at least five million bags or 25 percent of the current NCPB stock holding through commercial lease so as to spur growth of private sector roles and the Warehouse Receipt System operations,” said the Cabinet.
Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri had last year stopped NCPB from leasing space pointing out that this was costing the government a lot of money in relocating the grain to create storage space for strategic stocks.
The government also directed the Treasury to wind up the Noah Wekesa- led Strategic Food Reserve in six months.