• NCPB board says if debt is paid, it will be able to operate independently and help implement the Warehouse Receipting System.
• Educational sessions on the Warehouse Receipting System will be held next week from Monday to Friday in Kitale, Eldoret and Nakuru.
The government owes the NCPB Sh19 billion fees for services during distribution of subsidised fertiliser and maize purchase.
The board says if the debt by the Agriculture ministry is paid, the NCPB will be able to operate independently. It will be able to serve farmers better and help implement the Warehouse Receipting System that is currently being rolled out.
Farmers in Rift Valley have asked Agriculture CS Peter Munya and chairman of Parliament's Agriculture committee Silas Tiren to ensure the board is paid swiftly. This will help implement WRS.
The government has already approved more than 12 NCPB stores in the Rift Valley for the WRS system. Farmers want the debt cleared so the board can be more efficient.
“If the money is paid to NCPB, it will be able to operate independently and effectively. It will help NCPB workers maintain stores, dryers and silos," Kenya Farmers Association chairman Kipkorir Menjo said.
The government will meet Rift Valley farmers next week to educate them about the Warehouse Receipting System. Farmers plan to raise the debt issue.
The meetings will take place from Monday to Friday in Kitale, Eldoret and Nakuru.
In WRS, farmers will store their produce, mainly cereals, in approved stores and be issued with receipts as proof of ownership.
Farmers can use the receipts issued in various ways, including as collateral to access credit and farm inputs.
The system is also expected to improve marketing.
The farmers can hold the maize at the approved stores and sell it when prices are better.
The WRS Board, chaired by Jane Ngige, will guide farmers on how the system works. Ngige was appointed three months ago by Munya.
“The forums will help us understand the system better and give answers to the many questions farmers have about the new system," Menjo said.
The meetings will also be attended by MPs, including Tiren. He said the new system needs to be demystified.
(Edited by V. Graham)