Millers close shop over maize shortage

A maize farmer from Barina in Nakuru County. Farmers are now selling a 90-kilogram bag of maize at Sh4,800. [File, Standard]
More than 10 factories have been closed in North Rift and Western regions as a maize shortage continues to bite.

Those in operation are milling less than 20 per cent of their optimum capacity.

The millers that have shut down are in Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Bomet and Narok counties.

Grain Belt Millers Association Chairman Kipngetich Mutai said there was no maize being held by farmers and the available grain was too expensive forcing many millers to close shop.

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“We are facing an acute maize shortage and farmers who still have it sell at Sh4,800 per 90-kilogram bag. The government should intervene and open its NCPB stores for us to access maize at a modest price,” said Mr Mutai.

At the same time, a lawyer based in Eldoret has written to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Inspector General (IG) of Police seeking the arrest of individuals behind alleged withdrawal of Sh1.8 billion from the Strategic Food Reserve Fund (SFR).

Simon Lilan said the withdrawal of the funds was contrary to the law and those responsible should be arrested and charged in court.

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“I want the above to arrest and prosecute CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, Agriculture PS, Central Bank governor Patrick Njoroge and all the officials that were involved in or causing the withdrawal of the said amount,” he said in a letter.

The lawyer consequently gave the DPP and the police a 7-day ultimatum to arrest the named individuals’ failure to which he threatened to seek court orders to effect the same.

“They should also freeze the accounts to which the funds were illegally transferred to,” noted Lilan who claimed the funds were used to pay for past debts which is against regulations governing the use of funds in the Strategic Food Reserve fund.

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Maize importsMaize millersMaize shortageKipngetich Mutai