The Galana-Kulalu project yielded a paltry 40,000 50kg bags of maize during the last season, raising questions about the viability of the Sh7 billion government project.
Galana-Kulalu was expected to produce more than 20 million bags of maize.
Senators yesterday heard the project, which was touted as the solution to the country’s perennial food shortage, has underperformed despite government’s heavy investment in it.
National Cereals and Produce Board acting managing director Albin Sang said the board received the harvest in its Voi silos and are yet to make payments.
The Galana project was supposed to put one million acres under irrigation by 2017, only 5,500 acres of the model farm have been put under cultivation. The project is part of the Jubilee government’s manifesto aimed at moving the country from rain-fed agriculture.
Food security is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.
Sang said a million bags of Sh8.05 billion maize kept at NCPB stores risk going to waste as a good proportion has turned yellow.
He said some of the maize has stayed in the stores over the recommended six months storage period.
The Sh8.05 billion is part of the Sh11.5 billion the government paid farmers for the 3.6 million 50kg bags at Sh3,200 each. “Some maize has stayed more than six months in the silos and it has now changed colour and we are looking at ways to sell it. In terms of consumption, it is still okay only that the colour has changed,” Sang said.
He said the Agriculture ministry is adamant to have the maize disposed of since they will run at a loss as they will be forced to sell it at a cheaper price than the Sh3,200 they bought from farmers.
“The ministry and the Strategic Food Reserve are not comfortable to give us the go-ahead to release the maize,” Sang said.
Agriculture CAS Kello Harsama downplayed claims that NCPB bought maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania, terming the allegations “pure rumours”. “Claims that a large consignment of maize procured by NCPB were importations from Uganda and Tanzania are rumours. As a ministry, we did an audit and there was no evidence of importation of the grain from the two countries,” Harsama said.
The officials appeared before the Senate ad hoc team chaired by Uasin Gishu senator Margaret Kamar. The team is investigating the crisis facing the maize subsector.
Also See: What became of Galana-kulalu?