Mkulima today for the longest period of time the national cereals and produce board, NCPB has been the largest purchaser of maize from farmers but all this is about to change as per the cabinet secretary, ministry of agriculture press statement. CS Munya said the government does not plan on buying maize from farmers instead purchase from millers.

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Buying maize from farmers or importation

The government has already issued the go-ahead for the importation of 4 million bags of maize by processors.

The NCPB was tasked with the purchase of grains for the national grain reserve in order to provide food security for the nation but the process experienced high levels of corruption.

The reason for the change in the operations at the NCPB is so as to create a good environment for private firms as per the cabinet secretary in the ministry of agriculture.

From the data provided the maize production in the country is still low and cannot sustain the demand in the long term.

During a working tour of coffee mills, CS Munya said the government has withdrawn from the business of buying or importing grains and would only focus on creating a conducive environment for processors, private organizations, and citizens.

To beat the looming deficit the ministry gave processors the go-ahead to import four million bags of maize.

The imported bags would be divided into two million white maize and another two million bags of yellow maize.

To maintain the market conditions the imported maize will attract a 14 percent excise duty for the white and 10 percent for the yellow maize.

This is in line with having fair competition in the market. The CS also added that the traders hoarding maize expecting to sell to the government through NCPB to forget it and release the maize in the market.

As a result of the pandemic, more farmers and business are hoarding their produce with the aim of earning more when the government starts purchasing bags of maize.

The ministry of agriculture also warned that such traders would be arrested and prosecuted. They have also gone ahead and said that they might be forced to set fixed prices for some foodstuff.

To protect the consumers from such traders the government can invoke the price control essential goods act in order to have stability in the middle of the pandemic.

The act allows the National treasury to set the maximum prices for gazette essential commodities upon consulting the relevant industry.

Coffee reforms

During the visit, CS Munya also said that the coffee industry reforms are on track and public participation with the farmers is ongoing and the government is planning to spend at least 1.5 billion shillings.

The 1.5 billion will be used to

  • Turn the sector around
  • Digitize the coffee industry and
  • Refurbishing of structures

He said the Kenya Planters Cooperative Union that is charged with milling and marketing of coffee is being revived.

Credits: Leopold Obi / NMG

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