The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has turned away farmers whose maize did not meet quality standards.
The board’s Managing Director Albin Sang said all depots had been instructed to only accept maize that does not contain aflatoxin.
The board has embarked on buying two million 90kg bags of the produce for the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR).
Concerns have been raised in the past on the quality of some of the maize delivered by farmers to NCPB, with claims that some was infested with weevils and foreign matter or had high moisture content.
Speaking at Ziwa depot in Uasin Gishu County, during a routine visit on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Sang said the board was keen on the quality of maize it was buying.
“This year, we will only accept the best maize. We have physical and chemical parameters that are used to ascertain if the maize can be accepted at depots,” he added.
Sang advised farmers to carry samples of their maize to the depots for quality checks before transporting entire consignments.
“This will discourage long queues currently witnessed in most depots of farmers who have travelled with their maize only to be turned back with the entire consignment due to quality issues,” he said.
According to the MD, the board was only accepting grade one and two maize and following strict East African set standards.
Unlike in the past, all farmers delivering maize at NCPB depots this year are being subjected to thorough vetting, including filling forms with details of their supplies.
The heavy vetting has slowed down purchase of maize in NCPB depots.
Initially, the board had promised farmers it would purchase 2 million bags within one month. But according to Sang, the board has only bought 100,000 bags so far.
“We are working on how to strengthen other depots so that they can open and begin buying maize,” he said.
He announced plans to set up a 10,000-tonnne capacity silo at Ziwa through a partnership with the Polish government, to reduce long queues at Eldoret regional depot and to ease access for farmers.
Agriculture Executive Samuel Yego supported stringent vetting of maize by NCPB.
“The stringent rules are aimed at getting clean maize from farmers, this will ensure that safety is upheld even as we drive the agenda of food security,” said Mr Yego.
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