Rice co-operative society earns Sh600m from State corporation

CS Peter Munya. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kenyan National Trading Corporation (KNTC) has paid a cooperative society Sh600 million for rice supplied this year.

Mwea Rice Growers Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society supplied to the agency 165,900 bags following the decrease in the importation of rice.

Society chair Ndege Muriuki said that out of 5,000 farmers, 4,000 who supplied their harvest are active, and that supplies to the government agency had earned them Shs 600 million so far this year.

Muriuki said the balance is pegged at Sh175 million while a further stock estimated to be worth Sh200 million is in the society's go-downs.

Muriuki said the KNTC had promised to buy the remaining quantity at the current price of Sh85 per kg.

"We are grateful to KNTC for paying over Sh600 million without undue delay," said Muriuki during a visit to Kenya's largest rice scheme by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

For two years, the KNTC has been buying rice from the cooperative society at Sh85 per kg.

For years, local produce faced unfair competition from imported rice.

Pamela Mutua, the KNTC managing director assured the farmers that the uptake would continue.

Pamela said the corporation would continue supporting farmers as per the presidential directive on the purchase of local produce.

Munya said the government would address the mismatch between the produce available from farmers and the budgetary allocation to the KNTC for rice purchases.

He said rice imports had gone down after the government started the purchase from local producers, which is then distributed to government institutions and agencies.

Rice imports in September decreased to 350,000 (90 kg) bags compared to 629,000 (90 kg) bags in August and July.

In the same period last year, 107,951 of 90-kilo bags had been imported by June.