• Farmers asked to buy their own gunny bags
• Lack of bags had slowed buying of maize in NCPB stores
The Agriculture ministry has given the National Cereals and Produce Board approval to buy two million gunny bags for Sh175 million.
There has been a shortage of maize storage bags from February and this slowed the process of buying maize from most NCPB stores.
The board’s Managing Director Albin Sang told the Star on Tuesday this shortage could persist until June because of procurement laws.
"There is little time to buy the bags and that is why we had told farmers to come with the gunny bags. However, we will still go ahead because even if the bags arrive late, we will use them for the next season,” he said.
Sang said the ministry has released Sh175 million to buy bags to store all the maize that farmers have been delivering to the NCPB depots since January 24.
“We have not received the money yet, but immediately we get it, we will start sourcing for bags both locally and through importation,” he said.
He said the polypropylene bags can be found locally, while the jute bags are imported. Sang said getting the bags involves advertising for anyone with interest and qualification.
On March 20, chairman of the Strategic Food Reserve, Noah Wekesa, said farmers would be reimbursed for buying gunny bags when receiving payment for the maize delivered.
He said procurement of the bags would take two to three months.