Warehouse Receipts are best way to help farmers

In Summary

• The new Warehouse Receipt system has not yet taken off properly

• Farmers can use their receipts to sell their maize immediately, to borrow, or to hold on until the price goes up

Maize stock in the Kitale NCPB depot
Maize stock in the Kitale NCPB depot
Image: FILE

The nonsense over maize buying continues. The government has promised to give Sh3 billion to the National Cereals and Produce Board to purchase maize this month (see P30).

In 2019, Kenya produced 3.8 million tonnes of maize. It would cost government Sh105 billion to buy all that maize at Sh2,500 per bag. 

The only farmers who will benefit from the Sh3 billion given to the NCPB are the politically connected ones who can jump the queue.


Government wants to shift to a system that relies on the private sector. There are complaints that middlemen are in Rift Valley buying maize at less than Sh2,000 per bag.  Desperate farmers with no alternative are selling to them.

That's why counties should support the Warehouse Receipt System set up by the Agriculture ministry.

Through the WRS, a farmer could deposit his maize in a warehouse. He could then sell that receipt to a trader or middleman; use it as security to borrow temporarily from the bank; or hold onto his maize until there is no longer a glut and the price goes up.

The WRS is the only sensible way to protect the farmer today.

Quote of the day: "If I have a thousand ideas and only one turns out to be good, I am satisfied."

Alfred Nobel
The inventor dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prize died on December 10, 1896