Uasin Gishu maize Farmers worried over payment delays by NCPB
Maize farmers in Uasin Gishu who delivered the crop to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are a worried lot as they are yet to be paid to enable them prepare for the planting season.
The farmers are now appealing to the government to prevail upon Treasury to release funds to NCPB to enable the parastatal pay their dues.
“We are within the farm preparation season and purchase of farm inputs for the planting season from March, but most farmers are in a dilemma because they are yet to be paid by NCPB,” Kenya National Farmers Federation ( KENAFF) Chairman Musa Barno said.
In an interview with KNA in Eldoret on Thursday, Barno lamented that NCPB owes Uasin Gishu farmers more than Shs. 2b which it has not released since December 2017. He however welcomed the decision by the government to reduce subsidized fertilizer by 33% from shs. 1800 last year to Shs. 1,200 in 2018.
“As farmers we want to government for reducing the price of fertilizer this year to support agriculture, but we hope the subsidy will be dispatched to the NCPB depots on time for the planting season”, said Barno.
Last week MPs from the North Rift region threatened to join farmers in street demonstrations if the government will not release more than Sh.4.2 billion for maize delivered to NCPB.
The Cherangany MP, Joshua Kuttuny claimed efforts to have Treasury release the money had not yielded results. “We have tried diplomacy so that farmers are paid but we have not succeeded. We will now join farmers in public demonstrations,” warned Kuttuny .
Farmers plan to block streets in Eldoret and Kitale using tractors and Lorries to force the government to release the money which has accumulated since December 5. They accuse the government of reneging on their promise to pay farmers promptly.
The Agriculture Principal Secretary, Richard Lesiyampe was quoted by a section of the press as promising that the state will release the money this week.
The board was allowed to surpass their plan to buy 2m bags of maize using Shs. 6m set aside and buy more than 2.7 million bags worth more than Sh.8 billion.
By Kiptanui Cherono