Fire destroys second maize dryer at NCPB depot

Posted on January, 12, 2018 at 10:38 am


Another fire has destroyed the second maize dryer at the NCPB depot in Eldoret just a week after the first incident.

Uasin Gishu county fire fighters put it out before it caused extensive damage at the depot on Thursday.

The National Cereals and Produce Board suspended maize drying services for farmers until next week when the machines will have been repaired.

Depot manager Daniel Kodonyo said the fire likely resulted from an electrical fault, as was the case on January 4.

“The machines have been very busy in the last three months so we must consider overuse," he added.

He downplayed the effect of damage to two dryers saying their operations will not be severely affected. He said they only dry maize with a moisture content of 13 per cent.

The damage comes as farmers queue to deliver their maize. The government waived drying costs for those giving their produce to the depot.

So far, NCPB has bought more than 1.8 million bags of maize worth Sh5.7 billion. The board has paid farmers about Sh3.6 billion meaning it owes them more than Sh2 billion.

But MPs led by Sila Tiren of Moiben have asked the government to install new dryers because the damaged ones were installed years ago.

“We need to install new dryers as soon as possible so the board can resume normal operations."

Regarding the debt, Tiren said Treasury promised to release more money this week.

“We are talking to the government to ensure the NCPB is funded adequately for the purchases."

President Kenyatta ordered Treasury to avail Sh6 billion but there have been delays that have caused farmers to protest. They want to pay their children's school fees and prepare for the new planting season.

Source: The Star