Gunny bags shortage hits NCPB depots

Thursday February 21 2019

A man packs dried maize in bags.

A man packs dried maize in bags. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BARNABAS BII
By BARNABAS BII
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Maize farmers will have to wait longer to deliver their produce to the cereals board.

This is after the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) revealed it is facing an acute shortage of gunny bags in more than 30 depots countrywide, slowing down maize deliveries to stores.

NCPB’s Corporate Affairs Manager Titus Maiyo said they were only receiving maize in four depots: Eldoret, Moi’s Bridge, Kitale and Nakuru.

Four other conventional stores in Lugari, Webuye and Ziwa are also accepting deliveries.

TREASURY DELAY

The chairman of the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFRF) Noah Wekesa said the board had not received funds from the Treasury to acquire gunny bags to stock maize at NCPB’s conventional stores.

“We are asking farmers to deliver maize using standard bags that will enable NCPB to repackage the produce once the gunny bags are available,” said Dr Wekesa.

NCPB’s acting boss Albin Sang revealed they were waiting for approval from the SFRF to buy the gunny bugs.

BAGS TENDER

According to sources in the Ministry of Agriculture, tenders for the procurement of the gunny bags had not been awarded when the President intervened because of lack of quorum.

The government plans to buy two million bags of maize worth Sh5 million under the quota system, where each farmer is to deliver less than 400 bags of maize to the board.

Mr Wekesa said he was optimistic the funds will be released soon.