Farmers want NCPB depot reopened

By Kipchumba Kemei

Narok wheat and barley farmers want the Government to re-open the Mau Narok National Cereals and Produce Board depot to minimise post-harvest loss.

They said since the depot was closed in 1986, farmers have incurred heavy losses due to lack of storage and drying facilities.

They wondered why the depot was closed yet it used to serve the productive Mau zone, adding that they were now forced to take their produce to Nakuru and Narok depots.

According to agricultural officers, wheat and barley farmers in the expansive zone are expecting a bumper harvest of about 25 to 27 bags per acre.

"The Government closed the depot without consultations or taking into consideration that due to poor roads we used to store our produce until a suitable time," said David Mpatiany, the chairman of Narok Farmers Association.

He pointed out during a news conference in Narok town on Sunday that despite several promises that the depot would be re-opened, nothing has been done.

Bait for votes

"The issue has been politicised. The only time we hear that it would be re-opened is when elections approach. It has been used as bait for votes," claimed Mpatiany.

He said the depot, which is located at Enengetia area, used to serve an area of more than 200,000 acres.

He said dryers at the depot have been vandalised and the silos were now leaking.

Farmers hoped that the forthcoming county government will repair, expand and re-open the depot.

"Our hopes now lie with the county government. Our earlier hopes that the Kibaki administration would re-open the facility have been dashed," said Mpatiany.

Two years ago, Agriculture Assistant minister Gideon Ndambuki, while on a tour of Narok, said the Government would re-open the depot.

Mpatiany appealed to area MP William ole Ntimama to press the Government to re-open the depot, saying he has not been vocal on the need to have the depot re-opened.