The National Cereals and Produce Board is relocating more than two million bags of maize from its North Rift stores to provide space for this season’s harvest.
Harvest season begins in two months. NCPB operations manager Jonah Marindich said the board is moving the maize to silos in Northeastern and Eastern regions.
He spoke on Tuesday at the Eldoret NCPB depot.
The board is still holding more than 4.2 million bags in the strategic grain reserve. Farmers are expected to harvest more than 40 million bags of maize this year and the growers are still holding more than 500,000 bags harvested last year.
Marindich told the farmers there’s no cause for worry. “Let me assure maize farmers that by the time they harvest their crop in a few months, we shall have decongested all our stores spread across the North Rift and part of Western Kenya,” he said.
Marindich said the board had already moved part of the maize stocks from stores in the North Rift.
Farmers, led by Kimutai Kolum, had asked the government to decongest its stores and prepare to buy more maize this year.
Kenya Farmers’ Association director Kipkorir Menjo urged the government to provide adequate funds to the board to enable it purchase maize from registered farmers.
Prices of maize have dropped to less than Sh800 per 90kg bag, but the farmers want the NCPB to buy their produce at Sh3,200 per bag.
The NCPB is currently paying out Sh1.4 billion released last week by the state, but additional money will have to be released to complete payments to more than 1,000 farmers.
“We are giving priority to genuine farmers, especially the small-scale ones owed about Sh2 million and below,” Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said.