Linturi unveils grain driers for farmers to boost food security

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi flags off cereal dryers at the Eldoret NCPB depot in Uasin Gishu County, flanked by Governor Jonathan Bii and other officials. [Standard, File]

The government has procured 200 grain driers to help farmers manage their harvests and reduce post-harvest losses, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi announced on Tuesday.

Linturi said the equipment are significant in realizing the government’s vision of improving grain value chains and achieving 100 per cent food and nutrition security.

“I wish to reaffirm the commitment of the government to support the farming community in post-harvest management,” he said.

Linturi spoke at Eldoret National Cereals and Produce Board Depot (NCPB) in Uasin Gishu County, where he flagged off the grain driers to be delivered to NCPB Depots and Farmers’ Cooperatives/ Community Based Organizations through a project called grain drying for sustainable post-harvest management.

He said the project will be implemented in two phases, with each phase delivering 100 grain driers to farmers in 15 counties, including Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Bungoma, Kakamega, West Pokot, Narok, Kericho, Migori, Bomet, Baringo, Nyandarua and Laikipia.

Linturi expressed confidence that the initiative will help address the challenges that affect farmers’ output, noting that inadequate drying facilities contribute to huge farm losses and consequently food insecurity.

“Despite the crucial role the sector plays in our country, post- harvest loss management has been a major challenge in the sector with an estimated loss of 30 per cent of harvested crops," he stated.

According to the Ministry, agriculture contributes to more than 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and provides 70 per cent employment to rural dwellers.

The government has also introduced other programmes to boost the sector, such as subsidised fertilizers, which Linturi projects will help farmers produce two million 50kg bags of maize within the short rainy season.

“The significance of the Agriculture Sector to our economy cannot be overstated. The sector contributes 25 per cent directly to the GDP and another 27 per cent indirectly through support to other sectors like manufacturing among others,” he said.

To complement the programmes, the government has also put up a Warehouse Receipt System which allows farmers to hold their produce in certified NCPB Depot warehouses.

Linturi said this will ensure accountability and efficiency as the produce can be tested, cleaned, graded and stored with the owners of the commodity receiving a receipt as proof of ownership before sale.

“The receipt system is backed by legal provisions that guarantee quality, provide a secure system whereby stored agricultural products can serve as collateral, be sold, traded or used for delivery against financial instruments,” said Linturi.