The government has suspended with immediate effect the sale of subsidised fertiliser stored in various depots owned by National Cereals and Produce Boards (NCPB) in North Rift region.
Agriculture cabinet secretary Willy Bett said the move seeks to pave way for investigations against some disgruntled employees of the board linked to illegal sale of the commodity to unscrupulous traders in the region.
Speaking at the Eldoret’s NCPB depot yesterday, Bett said he has ordered a thorough probe into the conduct of the employees who were colluding with traders to purchase subsidised farm input meant for small-scale maize farmers. “We want to asses whether fertiliser so far sold has reached the intended maize farmers or not,” said Bett.
He said some traders, posing as maize farmers, were buying subsidised fertiliser in bulk from the depots in anticipation of selling the same to farmers at exorbitant prices during next year’s planting season.
“In fact, we have launched investigations into the matter with a view to bring to book disgruntled NCPB employees who are working in cohort with unscrupulous traders to buy government subsidised farm inputs,’ said Bett.
The CS also expressed concern over the low number of farmers delivering their harvested maize to NCPB depots spread across the region. The farmers, Bett said, have delivered only 200,000 bags of maize at the depot against the projected figure of more than four million bags.
He said that despite the government offering the prevailing market price of Sh 3,200 per 90 bag of maize, farmers from the region are yet to embrace the initiative.
“It’s regrettable to note that majority of the farmers are still taking their maize to the middle-men who are offering a paltry Sh2,600 per 90kg, exploitation of the highest order,” hesaid. He asked farmers to deliver their maize to the board saying the government was ready and willing to pay them promptly.