NCPB rejection of local farmers’ maize a costly folly

Tuesday March 13 2018

The recent report in the Nation that the National Cereals and Produce Board had rejected farmers’ maize was shocking. 

The action was insensitive, insincere and ironical because four million people are faced with starvation, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, as reported in the newspaper earlier.

The Nation also reported that NCPB stocks can only last up to May.

This begs the question, what has changed in a week?

Some Kenyans are reported to be feeding on wild fruits.

This was a story in the media about the dire situation in lower eastern region, particularly in Kitui County and even Kajiado next door in the lower Rift Valley. 

It is insincere since the government has the facts and we know that we have budget constraints, going by a recent lead story in the Nation that the Exchequer is off its annual revenue target by Sh84 billion.

This means that food will cost more — both for the government, which might be forced to import, and for Kenyans, the end users.

Doesn’t it, then, make better economic sense for the government to buy locally now than import later at a premium?

During the recent election campaigns, Jubilee Party, which is in power, promised farmers in the North Rift market for their produce and better prices.

Is that how the government will achieve its ‘Big Four’ agenda of food security by 2022?

Kaima D. M. Ruiga, Nairobi.