Nakuru, Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Maize farmers have commended the government for locking out cartels who have been importing the commodity from neighbouring countries causing a glut in the cereal market.
The chairman of South Rift Farmers, Justus Monda, however, blamed the government for having waited for far too long to identify what was ailing the delivery of the crop to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
“Our farmers have wasted valuable time queuing outside NCPB depots and begging for payment for their maize delivery, instead of preparing their farms for planting,’’ he said.
He said the importations should have raised a red flag since the country did not harvest a lot of maize last year due to the armyworm invasion in various parts of the country.
He was speaking today during a press conference in Nakuru town.
The chairman said culpable NCPB officials who preferred paying cartels first and left genuine farmers suffering, and yet the government had set aside enough money for them should be penalised.
Monda said it was dishonest for NCPB to exhaust budgetary allocation of sh. 3.5 billion before paying local farmers, which was tantamount to supporting farmers in another country, and he demanded that stern action should be taken against the officials.
He added that it was impossible for 3000 tons of maize to be delivered by cartels to NCBP without inside collusion.
The chairman urged the government to allow small-scale farmers to deliver the maize they have been hoarding hoping against hope that prices would improve.
He said maize from neighbouring countries was still selling at sh.1800 per a bag, while cereal sellers were offering sh.2400 and NCPB was the highest paying at sh.3200 per bag.
Monda appealed to the government to control the price of unga since there is excess maize in the country, and millers were making exorbitant profits.