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NCPB Need Extra Sh1 Billion for for Maize Crop

03 November 2011

KENYA - The National Cereals and Produce Board is negotiating with the government to release more than Sh1 billion for the purchase of maize from farmers during the current harvest season.

NCPB managing director Gideon Misoi says the board is now purchasing more than 20,000 bags of maize daily in a bid to increase strategic grain reserves to eight million bags reports All Africa.

Mr Misoi said they have so far purchased more than 200,000 bags from farmers and the board is about to exhaust Sh500 million given by the government for the initial purchase of the commdity.

Mr Misoi met with officials of the ministry of Agriculture to discus the funding details for the purchase of the maize. He says the ministry has agreed to facilitate release of extra money for the exercise.

"We have held successful deliberations with the PS for Agriculture and he has promised that the government will release more money so that we buy more maize from farmers," said Misoi.

He said the purchases will go on until the board has more than the eight million bags under strategic grain reserves within the next two years. He noted that the purchases will depend on how much money the government will provide.

Mr Misoi said the board was ready to help farmers market their produce and also produce more so that the perennial maize shortages experienced in the country is dealt with once and for all.

At the same time maize farmers in Rift Valley have rejected a government plan to continue with importation period for duty free maize to July next year.

The Kenya Farmers Association says the government should instead stop the ongoing importation of maize.

KFA Director Kipkorir Menjo says the government should allow farmers to harvest their crop this year instead of allowing free imports that will lead to a maize glut and affect maize farming for the next two years.

The National Economic and Social Council had recommended uninterrupted importation of maize to restock the national strategic reserves in order to meet the county's food requirements until July 2012.

However farmers argue that the move is unwise because it's not known how much maize the farmers will harvest and that the producers have not been consulted on the move.

"Maize importation is being done by cartels with interests in the agriculture sector. We have to first exhaust the maize harvested locally," said Menjo.

The farmers argue that free importation will affect prices of the maize harvested locally.

TheCropSite News Desk

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