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Speed up graft probe on maize cartels, urges CS Munya

RIFT VALLEY
By Fred Kibor and Titus Too | March 7th 2020

Agriculture CS Peter Munya tours the National Cereals and Produce Board, Eldoret Depot’s control room, after meeting farmers. He vowed to dismantle cartels in the maize sector. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to make the findings of its report on the maize scandal public.

Speaking in Eldoret on Thursday evening after meeting farmers from North Rift ahead of the official opening of Eldoret Agricultural Show, the CS said farmers affected by the scandal are still suffering.

“Investigators should give us the status of the cases so that we can know the way forward. Those found culpable should face the full force of the law,” he said.

The CS added that farmers have been reaching out to him over the matter as many of them are unable to service the bank loans they had taken using maize as the collateral.

Several locals had been accused of acting as middlemen between genuine farmers and delivering thousands of bags to the National Cereals and Produce Board and in return pocketing millions of shillings. This prompted the government to halt payments for maize deliveries as a probe into maize cartel commenced.

Munya, who toured Eldoret to officially open this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya Show, also announced that farmers will access fertilisers at a subsidised price of Sh2,300 for the coming planting season.

The CS announced that his ministry will institute a raft of changes aimed at streamlining operations and improve service delivery to the wananchi.

Farmers led by Kipkorir Menjo had complained of perennial challenges in the sector that has made the venture a loss-making enterprise.

Subsidy programme

North Rift farmers had remained optimistic that the ASK show would present an opportunity for the government to roll out fertiliser subsidy program.

Residents had expressed fears of fertiliser shortage with the planting season already on ahead of the long rains that normally start around mid-March and April. 

Samwel Yego, the Uasin Gishu County Executive Committee for agriculture had earlier said the national government is still in charge of fertiliser subsidy distribution and expressed fear some farmers were likely to reduce maize production acreage in the coming planting season due to shortages. “Piloting of a e-voucher subsidised fertiliser distribution system is expected to start anytime this week in two wards in Uasin Gishu county,” said Yego.

The CEC had said last week that Uasin Gishu requires 550,000 bags of fertiliser for planting as counties are not in a capacity to procure subsidised fertiliser for farmers.

Eldoret and Moi’s Bridge NCPB depots had subsidised fertiliser stocks of 32,000 and 25,000 bags each of 50 kgs. Vetted farmers are currently accessing the limited stocks of fertiliser from NCPB at Sh1,800 per 50kg bag.

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