Maize farmers in North Rift to be paid Sh1.4bn from Monday.

Senate ad hoc committee on maize crisis during a public hearing at Kabiyet, Nandi county on 28th September 2018.PHOTO|COURTESY

North Rift maize farmers will start receiving payment from Monday after vetting of growers who supplied the grain to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is completed.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa yesterday announced that 900 farmers had been cleared for payment.

“We have verified all the 1,154 farmers who were asked to fill up the verification forms, 1,140 farmers returned the forms successfully, 900 were cleared,” Wamalwa was quoted by The Standard.

He said 226 farmers have been recommended for investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) with a possibility of prosecution if it emerges that they made claims fraudulently.

Farmers have been demanding their dues on maize delivered between last October and March 2018.

The government embarked on vetting farmers in April after discovering that unscrupulous traders had imported cheap grain from Uganda and supplied it to NCPB to benefit from the Sh3,200 offered per 90 kilo bag.

He said the maize farmers would have been paid from last week but the Board of Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) that is supposed to make the payment had a quorum hitch.

RELATED CONTENT

The board’s term was renewed via a Gazette Notice on Friday.

Wamalwa said the board will be deliberate on how to make the payment. He said 514 farmers owed Sh2 million and below will be paid a total of Sh466 million and 386 farmers would be paid later.

“Kiunjuri (Agriculture CS Mwangi) would give a brief of how the payment would be made next week. Everyone who delivered maize will be paid,” said Wamalwa.

“The amount of Sh1.4 billion released as per the budget for the financial year 2018/19 will largely focus on the smallholder farmers first,” said Mr Wamalwa whose ministry manages the Strategic Food Reserve.

Wamalwa’s statement comes at a time the Senate ad hoc committee on maize crisis concluded public hearings in North Rift region, with farmers anticipating lasting solutions to their woes even with rife fears of drastic dip in producer prices after the current crop season.

Maize producers presented detailed written and oral memo to the committee co-chaired by Senator Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu) and Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) that held forums in concurrence with the inaugural Senate sitting in Uasin Gishu County.

Farmers with challenges ranging from delayed pay, irregular supply of inputs, strenuous vetting processes, among others, expressed their plight during forums in Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma and Nandi.

Although farmers trust the Senate will formulate new policies that will make the sector more vibrant and profitable in future, their concern is on prices for produce to be harvested from October as they continue to dip further, with a 90 kg bag currently retailing at only Sh900 in Eldoret.

Their worry has been compounded by the fact that there were no allocations towards purchase of SFRs in the current budget.

Senate ad hoc committee on maize crisis promised to compile a comprehensive report on legislative proposals to address issues ailing the NCPB, regulatory proposals on payment of farmers, also the management of seed and fertilizer and subsidy.

 

One thought on “Maize farmers in North Rift to be paid Sh1.4bn from Monday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *