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September 23, 2018

Devolve NCPB operations to protect farmers – governors

Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno when he appeared before the senate ad-hoc committee on maize crisis in the country. August 29, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor
Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno when he appeared before the senate ad-hoc committee on maize crisis in the country. August 29, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor

Governors want operations of the national cereals agency devolved, especially the management of the strategic grain reserves.

The county bosses have forwarded a memorandum of their recommendations to the Senate committee that is looking into the maize crisis.

The committee is chaired by Uasin Gishu senator Margaret Kamar. Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno presented the recommendations to the committee on behalf of the Council of Governors.

The recommendations include measures to deal with the maize marketing crisis which the county faces every year.

“We have asked the government to review the East African Community rules that allow continued importation of maize into the country without any mechanisms to protect our farmers,” Chemno said.

He said the government should allow devolution of the National Cereals and Produce Board so that counties and farmers can tackle the challenges they face.

“Let the counties handle all that was devolved as per the Constitution. The NCPB should urgently be reviewed and restructured to reflect the spirit of devolution,” Chemno said.

He said the NCPB should immediately devolve construction and management of grain stores to county governments in line with the Legal Notice No 137.

The counties argue they have put in place strategic interventions in the County Integrated Development Plans aimed at revamping the ailing agriculture sector to improve food security.

"For instance, we implemented the strategic interventions to curb the spread of army worm, capacity building of farmers through the extension programmes, subsidised fertiliser and seeds, conducting soil test among many other interventions," Chemno said.

Governors also want the government to increase the allocations to counties to enable them implement the subsidies programmes to cushion farmers from high costs of production.

The Senate established a select committee chaired by Kamar to resolve the recurring maize crisis.

Kamar said they will consider views from the counties and farmers before coming up with recommendations and solutions.

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