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Parliament moves to secure pay for farmers

The Senate and the National Assembly have now turned the spotlight on delayed payment of maize farmers by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) even as the houses set up separate teams to probe the matter.

At the Senate, a nine-member adhoc committee, co-chaired by Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu) and Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), will look into possible loss of billions of shillings in questionable payments to people posing as farmers, among other challenges dogging the sector.

The team will investigate the quantity of maize imported during the duty-free window ending in October last year and the circumstances surrounding the extension of the import window.

Before making recommendations on the way forward, the adhoc committee is also expected to probe the challenges facing maize farmers.

Meanwhile, Nandi Hills Member of Parliament (MP) Alfred Keter now wants the National Assembly to push NCPB to pay maize farmers promptly.

The MP also wants a clear formulation of policies by the ministry to ensure that the cereals board serves the farmers effectively.

In a petition to the house, Keter wants the National Assembly to order the revocation of the suspension of Sh4 billion payments owed to the maize farmers.

According to Keter farmers are unable to purchase farm inputs for the next planting seasons.

–DINAH ONDARI AND MERCY MWAI

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