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October 21, 2018

Farmers wait until next budget to get paid for maize delivered

CS for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri with Governor Jackson Mandago at the NCPB depot in Eldoret on March 7th./FILE
CS for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri with Governor Jackson Mandago at the NCPB depot in Eldoret on March 7th./FILE

Maize farmers will have to wait for the next budget to be paid the Sh5 billion owed to them by the NCPB.

The farmers expected the money to be included in the supplementary budget announced last week.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich did not include the provision to pay farmers. The farmers have signed commitment forms, pledging not to demand money from the National Cereals and Produce Board until after three months, which will be after the next budget is tabled in Parliament.

Speaking at the NCPB depot in Eldoret town on Friday, Agriculture Secretary Kello Harsame said, “There is a contractual agreement with farmers that their payments will be spread to the next financial year.

Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo says Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri promised that the government would seek a supplementary budget next month specifically for farmers.

“The long-term solution is for the MPs to set aside adequate funds to pay farmers and the government to deal with emergencies like armyworm invasions,” Menjo said.

The government last week ordered the NCPB to stop further maize intake from farmers in Rift Valley. Harsame said the NCPB is overwhelmed, following mass importation of cheap maize from Uganda.

He said the board exceeded its limits after some farmers delivered up to 90,000 bags each, yet they did not harvest the same quantities. Lorries ferrying maize have been blocked from joining queues outside the NCPB depots in Eldoret, Ziwa, Kitale and Moi’s Bridge.

The cereals board owes farmers Sh5 billion for maize deliveries since December.

“Any farmer who still has maize should not bring it to the NCPB until further notice. We will not accept more maize until further communication from the Treasury on the available funds,” Harsame said.

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