STORAGE: Maize worth Sh8 billion is going to waste at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) silos according to top officials of the board.
The officials told a senate committee that unless the maize is either sold or moved from NCPB which is currently storing the maize on behalf of the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR), the entire crop will go to waste.
The Sh8b is part of Sh11.5 billion the government paid to farmers when it procured 3.6 million bags of 50kgs at a cost of Sh3,200 each. The board started receiving maize last week and by the time the procurement was suspended due to corruption-related issues it had received 6.5 million bags from 12,287 farmers.
NCPB Acting managing director Albin Sang told Senators who sit on the ad hoc committee investigating maize crisis in the country that the maize in the silos turned yellow after it stayed for more than six months, yet the condition of the silos cannot allow that.
“Some maize has stayed for more than six months in the silos and it has now changed colour and that is why we are looking at ways to sell it. The maize is not bad but Kenyans might have a problem buying it because it is no longer white,” he said. He also said that while the maize is currently fit for human consumption, despite change of colour, the ministry has refused to give them the go ahead to sell it.
The committee chairperson and Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar said NCPB had failed in its calling wondering whether it should continue to exist. She said: “We are asking ourselves if it should continue being in existence.