More staff to speed maize intake

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri (2nd R) looks at maize samples at the NCPB depot in Eldoret in December. /FILE
Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri (2nd R) looks at maize samples at the NCPB depot in Eldoret in December. /FILE

The National Cereals and Produce Board has deployed additional staff at depots in the North Rift region to help speed up maize purchase from farmers.

Longer queues of lorries and tractors have been seen at the depots after the board finally opened all the depots and started buying maize from farmers. The price is t Sh2,500 per 90kg bag, as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri will visit the depots this week to oversee the maize purchase.

More than 600 lorries lined up to deliver maize at depots in the North Rift as the government also enforced strict vetting terms for the farmers.

The farmers were required to fill out vetting forms containing all their details, including location and acreage of their farms.

“The depots are now open and the only slight challenge we have is the slow vetting process before farmers are allowed to deliver maize,” said Kipkorir Menjo, director of the Kenya Farmers’ Association.

Government and NCPB records indicate that more than 35,000 had been vetted previously in Uasin Gishu and another 46,000 in Trans Nzoia.

Menjo said the lists of farmers known to the government should be used for both purchase of maize and supply of subsidised fertiliser.

NCPB chief executive Albin Sang confirmed that they had opened the depots.

“The farmers have to comply with all vetting requirements before delivery of maize,” Sang said.

No single farmer would be allowed to supply more than 400 bags to the board.

The vetting conditions are meant to lock out traders from selling maize to the board.

Sang said the delay in opening the depits had been caused by the strict vetting processes put in place to ensure only genuine farmers supply maize.

“The vetting is being handled by teams from county governments, the Ministry of Agriculture and others, but we hope to take in maize as fast as possible,” Sang said.

Farmers lined up with lorries of maize outside NCPB depots in Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge, Nakuru, Kitale and Nandi.

More than 400 lorries and tractors lined up yesterday at the NCPB depot in Eldoret.