Maize supply to be halted on Friday at some NCPB depots for lack of storage bags

maize stock at the Maralal National Cereals board depot
maize stock at the Maralal National Cereals board depot

Delivery of maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board might be halted if the government does not provide enough bags.

The NCPB does not have enough storage bags. A board official yesterday told the Star they had requested the Agriculture ministry to provide the gunny sacks before the stores open on January 24.

“We only have a few bags to run until Friday. After that, farmers delivering maize in our conventional stores where there are no silos will not be able to deliver,” the officer said.

Farmers near Kitale, Ziwa, Turbo, Musoriot, Nyahururu, Laikipia and Solai depots will be turned away unless the gunny bags were available next week. Moi’s Bridge, Eldoret, Nakuru and Bungoma depots have silos and will continue receiving the harvests. By Tuesday, farmers had delivered 108,499 bags each of 50kg at the Eldoret depot, 42,155 at Moi’s Bridge, 17,441 in Kitale, 3,166 in Ziwa, 1,737 in Nakuru and 441 in Webuye.

The Treasury approved Sh5 billion to buy two million 90kg bags of maize at Sh2,500 each, for the 2018 harvest. CS Mwangi Kiunjuri said Sh4.02 billion has been authorised for release and the balance of Sh980 million will be sourced from the 2017-18 maize sales.

The NCPB said the purchase had been slow because they have to vet. Kiunjuri had maintained that the ministry would be strict in vetting farmers to weed out unscrupulous traders so only genuine farmers supply their maize to state agency.

“The same data being collected by the NCPB will be used to supply fertiliser to farmers through cooperative societies,” he said.

This year, the government has not bought subsidised fertiliser for the long rains planting season, which peaks next month.