Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy
Farmers supplying maize to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in Nakuru have threatened to withdraw their services citing discrimination and late payment by the government. Frustration is mounting over the continued delays in payments which have left thousands of farmers unable to plan their finances.
More than 100 farmers are demanding Sh75 million for 70,000 bags of maize supplied to the cereals board in December. Led by their chairman Lawrence Mungai, the farmers said they have been pushing for the pay without success.
“We have been left without pay for the last month, NCPB owes us more than 70 million,” said Mungai. He added that they have only managed to receive Sh30 million out of the expected money and it is not clear when they will receive the balance. According to agreement between farmers and NCPB management, payment was to be done on delivery of the produce.
“NCPB was to pay us on delivery but they have delayed payment putting us in deep financial crisis in January,” he added. Delayed pay, he said, has affected their operation. For instance, some farmers are not able to take their children to school as first term officially opened yesterday as per the Ministry of Education school calendar.
He added that the majority of farmers are also not able to prepare their land for the next farming season because of financial constraints. Speaking at his office, Nakuru NCPB acting silo manager Ronald Korir said the farmers were to be paid on time but the National government is yet to release the money. He said two weeks ago, the government released Sh45 million and it is expected to release Sh75 million to clear debt of the produce supplied.