Maize farmers in South and Central Rift region want National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to hasten the process of receiving their produce to cushion them from expenses incurred while on the queue.
There was a long line of lorries and tractors loaded with sacks of grains at the NCPB’s Nakuru depot with some farmers protesting that they had been waiting to offload their deliveries for the past three weeks.
At the same time, the farmers protested delayed payment of grains delivered at the depot in January 2018. The growers said they were unable to buy farm inputs and meet their daily needs.
Caleb Momanyi, a farmer from Kericho said middlemen had taken advantage of NCPB’s sluggish pace of receiving the grains and were paying a paltry Shs 2,000 for a 90 kilogramme bag of maize.
Most of us have been here for the past three days. The Board is no longer receiving deliveries. Brokers have swarmed this area and are making a kill. Transportation costs are hurting us as we are paying daily additional charges for the trucks parked at the waiting bay, said Momanyi.
He said some farmers had incurred huge losses after impatient transporters offloaded their maize and dumped it along the waiting bay.
David Kerror, a farmer from Rongai in Nakuru County, noted that he spends S, 600 a day for the driver and the turn boy.
We ask NCPB to give us the way forward. The board has not been receiving the products for more than a week. This will save us the agony of having to sleep in trucks every day . We pay our driver S, 000 and his turn boy Sh600 per day, he said.
Ministry of Agriculture has directed farmers to register in their respective counties before delivering produce. This was one of stringent measures introduced to block brokers from selling cereals to the board.
The farmers however alleged that the process of being registered in their counties was tedious and bureaucratic resulting in some growers opting to dispose of the produce at throwaway price.
The board is buying a 90kg bag of maize at Sh3, 000. The farmers called on the government to stop importation of maize from the neighbouring Uganda, as most of them had huge stocks on their farmers.
We are getting reports that some people are favouring importation of maize from Uganda. This is a way of killing the grain sector in the country. We do not have a shortfall of the produce in the country, said Joel Kimani a farmer from Londiani.
Source: Kenya News Agency