NCPB entices farm**s with 28pc rise in maize buying price

Monday, January 10th, 2022 07:15 | By
Maize warehouse. Photo/PD/Library

National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will start buying a 90 kilogramme bag of white maize at Sh3, 000 from farmers, the board has said.

It marks a 27.6 per cent increase from Sh2,350 the board had offered to small scale farmers early December, 2021.

The board says all depots have been opened to allow farmers start selling dry maize, adding that payments for any sale will be effected within 24 hours upon delivery.

NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said the board is purchasing the maize for its commercial function and all farmers who are currently harvesting, or have already harvested, are encouraged to deliver their grain to the nearest NCPB depot.

“There are no administrative conditions for one to deliver maize to the board as long as the produce meets KEBS Grade I and Grade II standards.”

Kimote stated that the board is offering storage facilities at competitive rates and farmers can opt to store under the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) or under regular warehousing.

Warehouse receipt strategy

“The price of Sh3,000 we are offering will enable farmers to get value for the maize they deliver due to the accuracy of our weighing services,” Kimote said.

The board is persuading farmers to use the WRS strategy to store their maize and get receipts which they can use to trade with once the prices improves.

“We have over 30 stores certified under the warehouse receipt system placing us at a better position to commercially operate in the market,” Kimote said.

The board was prompted to increase the price  after farmers and traders started exporting the commodity to neighbouring countries like Uganda and southern Sudan triggering high prices. Farmers are also said to be hoarding the produce in anticipation of high prices.

Under new reforms, the government stopped factoring funds for purchase of maize in the national budget and instead transformed NCPB into a commercial entity.

“NCPB is now a commercial entity and we buy like any other players in the market. We have over 700,000 bags of maize in our stores which we bought from the farmers since last year and at the same time have been selling the same to various value chains,” Kimote stated.

Rains have kicked off in a good number of places raising fears of post harvest losses especially to farmers who have poor storage facilities.

Under the reforms enacted last year it was established within the NCPB the National Food Reserve (NFR)leverage commercial processes.

To separate the National Food Reserve functions from the commercial ventures, NCPB was restructured to establish the National Trading Division (NTD).

But, the agency’s efforts to procure more maize are being inhibited by high levels of indebtedness.

The debtors include the National Government and various government agencies which owe the board Sh18.1 billion, a situation that is derailing implementation of the new reforms.

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