Cereals agency told to release maize to millers

The cereals board has been ordered to release one million bags of maize to millers to cushion the public from the rising cost of flour.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the maize will be sold to millers at a cost of Sh2,500 in North Rift, South Rift, Kakamega and Kisumu.

He further allayed fears of shortage of Maize saying there is enough stock at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots, and that most farmers were holding the grain for speculation purposes so as to sell it at a higher price.

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“We have resolved that one million-90kg bags of maize should be released to address the shortage that has seen the prices of flour go up by Sh4,” Mr Bett told the National Assembly Committee on Agriculture.

The CS said there were farmers holding into thousands of bags of cereals and the country is not in shortage.

On Tuesday NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer said the board had 2.2 million bags of maize in its stores, which he said is enough to take the country for about a month.

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Mr Terer said the board has 1.8 million bags of good quality maize in its stores, part of which will be released for sale to address the shortage and stabilise market prices.

On Tuesday appearing before the National Assembly Public Investment Committee, Mr Terer was quoted telling MPs that there are over 400,000 bags of bad maize in their stores, which it was planning to dispose off.

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“The board recently categorised maize that had been in its storage for years into various grades to suit different uses that include human consumption and animal feed. None of the maize was contaminated with aflatoxin,” said Terer in an advertisement in local dailies.

The NCPB boss reacting to reports that appeared in a section of the media, maintained that the maize in their silos was not contaminated with aflatoxin.

He clarified that the maize earmarked for sale is not bad but only that its quality had deteriorated.

“Over time, some of the maize stored in the silos may deteriorate. When this happens, the organisation downgrades the affected maize, which may be disposed of or sold for animal feed processing and other uses depending on the grade,” he said.

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He explained that the Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board in August last year approved the sale of 2.3 million bags of maize adding that most of the stock had been sold.

“Currently, 434,000 bags of the said maize has been sold and is awaiting collection,” he said.

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