Rains delay NCPB purchase of maize for Strategic Food Reserve

Monday October 23 2017

Agriculture secretary Willy Bett. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Agriculture secretary Willy Bett. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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Delayed harvest and ongoing rains are derailing the replenishment of the depleted Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) with grains from the breadbasket of North Rift.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) had only received 60,000 90-kilogramme bags of maize as of Monday since it opened its depots for purchasing the grain from farmers.

Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said Monday: “NCPB is getting very small quantities of maize as harvesting has been delayed because of the rains that have been pounding the region.”

According to NCPB, the maize that they are receiving at the moment has a high level of moisture content and they have to dry it before storage.

The board says the produce from farmers has moisture content of up to 20 per cent but they are only allowing consignment with 18 per cent, which has to be dried before being taken to the silos.

Ordinarily, the board only takes in grain with the moisture level of 13.5 per cent and below.

“The bulk of the maize that we are receiving now is from the border regions of western province as most of the maize in Uasin Gishu and Trans-Nzoia are not dry enough to be harvested,” said an official at the NCPB.

The official said they expect more maize from farmers next month, however, this will depend with the rains.

The government will spend Sh7.1 billion on the exercise to buy 2.4 million bags of maize to replenish stocks in the SFR this year. Farmers are expected to earn Sh3,200 per 90-kilo bag of maize supplied to the NCPB, which is six per cent higher than what they were paid last year.