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February 20, 2019

Farmers, NCPB split over vetting before payment

KFA Director Kipkorir Menjo addressing farmers after a meeting in Eldoret on August 24th
KFA Director Kipkorir Menjo addressing farmers after a meeting in Eldoret on August 24th

The National Cereals and Produce Board will not stop vetting maize farmers before they are paid Sh1.4 billion released by treasury two weeks ago.

But the board has not started vetting farmers as directed by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa. Managers at NCPB depots in Rift Valley said farmers must meet all the requirements before being paid.

The farmers said they will not take part in the vetting. Wamalwa ordered the scrutiny to remove brokers from the list of those to be paid, but farmers’ spokesman Francis Koech said it is unnecessary.

All those who delivered maize must be paid, he added. "No matter what happens we will not take part in any vetting," Koech said.

Moiben MP Sila Tiren said they sent a petition to President Uhuru Kenyatta to order the NCPB to release the payments without the conditions.

The farmers planned to demonstrate in Eldoret this week to demand that the vetting be called off.

Governors in the North Rift have also petitioned the NCPB to withdraw the stringent measures introduced to vet farmers before they are paid.

Farmers’ representatives Joseph Kimaiyo and Paul Ng’ethe said the vetting will cause farmers further suffering.

Kimaiyo said NCPB has all details of farmers and the order by Wamalwa for fresh vetting will not work. The vetting was to start last Monday.

"We are willing to help the government identify the genuine farmers instead of introducing requirements that will frustrate farmers who have been waiting for payments since last year," said Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago.

He said the delayed release of Sh3.5 billion owed to farmers will hurt maize production next year.

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