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November 15, 2018

Stop vetting maize farmers, Rift governors advise board

Representatives of farmers at a meeting in Eldoret on August 20 /MATHEWS NDANYI
Representatives of farmers at a meeting in Eldoret on August 20 /MATHEWS NDANYI

Governors in the North Rift have petitioned the NCPB to withdraw some of the stringent measures introduced for vetting of farmers before they are paid sh 1.4 Billion released by treasury.

 The vetting failed to take off for the second day as the farmers threatened to carry out street demonstrations next week if they will not paid sh 1.4 Billion released by treasury last week.

The farmers led by Joseph Kimaiyo and Paul Ngethe said they had rejected the vetting because it was unnecessary and it would cause further suffering for farmers.

Kimaiyo said NCPB has all details of farmers and the order by CS Eugene Wamalwa for fresh vetting before payments would not work. The vetting was to start on Monday.

“We are willing to help the government identify the genuine farmers instead of intruding very rigorous requirements that will just further frustrate the farmers who have been waiting for payments since last year”, said Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.

Mandago spoke at his office on Tuesday after meeting farmer’s representatives who went to protest over the vetting requirements.

Mandago who is also the chairman of the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) said the delayed release of sh 3.5 Billion owed to farmers by the NCPB for the last nine month would affect maize production as from next year.

Governors Patrick Khaemba of Trans Nzoia and Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet also spoke to the Star separately and urged the government to resolve the row over payments for farmers at the NCPB.

“Majority of the farmers whose payments are withheld include small scale producers and its not good that they be frustrated for almost a year waiting for the payments”, said Khaemba.

The farmers stormed out of the NCPB depots in Eldoret on Monday and held a crisis meeting where they resolved to reject the vetting terming as too frustrating.

During the meeting Moiben MP Sila Tiren faulted the EACC for delayed release of its findings on investigations on the Sh 1.9 Billion maize purchase scam at the NCPB.

Tiren says the the EACC has taken more than three month to probe the scam causing unnecessary suffering to innocent farmers.

He says the NCPB should be audited extensively to establish causes of financial and management challenges in its operations.

“We have forwarded a memorandum to the President so that he looks into the challenges which may threaten food security in the country”, said Tiren.

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