NCPB urges people to utilise its services to curb post-harvest losses

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has announced that its facilities are available for grain storage as farmers near the end of the current harvesting season.

The board yesterday urged farmers and other stakeholders in the industry to utilise the existing grain handling facilities across its stores to minimize post-harvest losses following bountiful harvests.

The call comes in the wake of high humid conditions as some parts of the country witness heavy rains.

The meteorological department had warned about the possibility of the country experiencing El Nino rains between October and December this year.

President William Ruto, however, said there would be no El Nino after the alert was reviewed.

The majority of maize farmers especially those in the North Rift region rushed to harvest their produce following the El Nino rains alert.

Some farmers are currently sun-drying their produce while others who lack storage facilities dispose of the cereals to middlemen at low prices. The hurried harvesting left maize with a high moisture content.

In a press statement signed by NCPB Corporate Affairs Manager Titus Maiyo on behalf of the Managing Director (MD) Joseph Kimote and issued yesterday, the board said the facilities will curb wastage of harvests and enable farmers to gain better earnings and also safeguard the country's food security.

"NCPB is calling on farmers and other interested parties to utilize its facilities to meet their grain post-harvest needs. The board is offering grain drying, aflatoxin testing and grain grading, general warehousing and Warehouse Receipt System (WRS), pest control services (fumigation and spraying), weighing and bagging, and standardization at competitive rates," read the statement in part.

The board announced that the services are available in NCPB silos and selected deports at affordable rates.

"Farmers and other interested parties are encouraged to inquire from the nearest NCPB depot on the availability of the services and the attendant charges," it stated.

According to the board, the country loses approximately 30 percent of annual harvests due to poor post-harvest management of produce resulting in reduced income for farmers and also impacting negatively the country's food situation.

The board stated that it distributed 4 million 50 kg bags of subsidized fertilizer to farmers hence the good yields realised this year.

In support of the Government's initiative to enhance food safety, the Board is offering aflatoxin services at its laboratories in in Nairobi, Machakos, Nakuru, Narok, Bungoma, Eldoret, Moisbridge, Kitale and Kisumu.

"Farmers, schools, hotels and other institutions can have their grains tested for aflatoxin in these facilities," read the statement.