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Why maize worth Sh8b could go to waste

Posted on September, 13, 2018 at 11:18 am

By Daniel Psirmoi

Maize worth Sh8 billion in the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores risks going bad unless it is urgently sold. NCPB acting Managing Director Albin Sang yesterday told senators part of the 3.6 million bags of maize in their silos had started yellowing and might go to waste if not moved out.

Mr Sang, while making submissions before a committee probing the maize crisis, said there was nothing much they could do, as the board had not been allocated funds to move the grain in the stores countrywide. “We have also not been given a go ahead to sell the maize, which has stayed for more than the required six months,” said the NCPB boss, adding that although the maize has changed colour, it is still good for consumption.

Sang, who was part of the team from the Ministry of Agriculture that was grilled by members of the committee led by Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), said the Sh8.05 billion was part of the Sh11.5 billion the State paid to farmers when it procured 3.6 million 50-Kgs bags at Sh3, 200 each. He had accompanied top ministry officials, including Agriculture and Research PS Hamadi Boga and the Chief Administrative Secretary Kello Harsama.

Agricultural Finance Corporation head of operations Millicent Omukaga was also present. According to Sang, the parent ministry had expressed reservations on selling the maize. This follows fears that it might incur heavy losses as it would be forced to dispose the commodity at a price lower than the Sh3, 200 per bag.

Yesterday, the Agriculture PS, who made a presentation on behalf of CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, said the sub-sector was rocked by many challenges that needed to be addressed. “From where I stand, there is a lot of confusion. I think we need to sit back with all the stakeholders and look at what is happening and figure out how to go about it,” said Prof Boga. Harsama dismissed claims that the ministry spent a huge amount of money to buy maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania.

“An investigation the ministry conducted established that no maize was imported from the two countries as claimed. The reports, according to us, are just but rumours since there was no evidence,” he said.

Source: Standard Digital