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February 23, 2019

State to vet maize farmers afresh before paying Sh1.4bn

Former MP for Eldoret South Jesse Maisz speaking after a meeting for farmers in Eldoret on August 14th
Former MP for Eldoret South Jesse Maisz speaking after a meeting for farmers in Eldoret on August 14th

The government on Monday will start vetting maize farmers again before they are paid the Sh1.4 billion released by the Treasury.

The farmers will be vetted at 24 NCPB depots before they are cleared to receive the money. It is only part of the Sh3.5 billion owed to them since December last year.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa announced that the money would be paid out immediately but farmers have expressed anger after the state introduced stringent measures of vetting to qualify for payment.

The fresh vetting aims to weed out traders and brokers who also delivered maize to the NCPB and want to be paid.

“Farmers have been left in a state of surprise because they thought the payments would finally be done but that is not the case. We have been informed vetting will be done afresh so that only genuine farmers are paid,” director of the Kenya Farmers Association Kipkorir Menjo said

Menjo and chairman of the Kenya National Farmers Union Musa Barno said farmers would meet again next week to discuss the payment crisis at the NCPB. Former MP Jesse Maisz said they were being frustrated by the state over the payments.

NCPB officials said they would strictly follow directives issued by CS Wamalwa before any payments are mde.

While announcing the payments plan last week, Wamalwa said the Ministry of Devolution had taken over management of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund in line with Executive Order No. 1 of 2018.

He said they consulted with the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Treasury to establish the status of the payment to maize farmers.

“Complaints were raised over payments made to maize farmers for the 2017-18 crop season and there were allegations that the payment may have disadvantaged genuine farmers in preference to traders, ” Wamalwa said.

He said a multi-agency team is looking into the matter. The preliminary report of the audit by the multi-agency team established that some deliveries at the NCPB were made by farmers, while others were made by merchants.

Wamalwa said the government was committed to complete the payment of vetted and verified maize farmers as soon as possible to alleviate their suffering.

Eighteen traders were paid Sh1.9 billion at the expense of genuine farmers whose payments were delayed.

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