Saturday, Nov 22nd 2014

2.5 million bags of maize rotting in NCPB silos

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY MATHEWS NDANYI

More than 2.5 million bags of maize stored at the National Cereals and Produce Board under the Strategic Grain Reserves are now rotting due to the financial crisis at the board.

 NCPB operations manager Ernest Ogwora yesterday said the maize has started rotting because they are unable to fumigate it. He said the Sh500 million debt dispute has paralysed all its operations and unless the board is allowed to operate its accounts, all the maize will rot.

 "We are in a crisis and unless something is done the maize in our stores will go to waste. We are struggling to pay staff and perform other functions," Ogwora said.

 He was speaking at the Eldoret NCPB depot during a meeting for consultants hired by the government to help in restructuring the board. NCPB North Rift manager Jonah Marindich was also present at the meeting.

 The consultants from Ernest and Young, Murubu Munyaka, Daniel Kamanda and Jonathan Nzuma, were in the region to meet with farmers and collect their views on the restructuring plan.

 NCPB has been embroiled in a dispute with Erad Supplies Company over a Sh500 million claim for breach of a contract to supply relief maize to the board more than four years ago.

 Ogwora said the board did not have a debt because Erad did not honour the supply deal. "We are hoping that the matter will now be resolved since the Court of Appeal is ready to hear us," he said.

 President Uhuru has already directed Attorney General Githu Muigai to resolve the Sh500 million debt which has paralysed operations at NCPB.

 Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia who was in Eldoret at the weekend said the debt dispute between the board and Erad Supplies will be dealt with so that NCPB can resume normal operations.